Johnson intends to drop Irish “backstop”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held talks in Northern Ireland on July 31 in a bid to untangle the deadlock over the Irish border “backstop” that has twice scuppered all efforts to secure an orderly withdrawal from the European Union. (Image:archive).

The prospects for the border have become the most contentious issue in negotiations with the EU, and the British pound has tumbled in recent days as Johnson announced the UK would leave without a deal on October 31 unless the backstop was dropped.

The head of Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, said she warned new Prime Minister that leaving without a deal would be catastrophic for the economy and the 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of violence in the region.

Johnson began his trip with talks on July 30 evening with the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the largest pro-British party in the region whose 10 members in the Westminster parliament support the Conservative government.

After the meeting DUP leader Arlene Foster repeated Johnson’s demand that the Irish backstop, designed as an insurance policy to prevent border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland, be scrapped. “It is very important that the backstop goes,” Foster said.

More than 3,600 people died in sectarian violence known under name  The Troubles.

 

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