British Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Northern Ireland Friday on a two-day visit to tell political leaders that her Brexit blueprint will deliver the promise of no border with the neighboring Irish Republic.
In a keynote speech to be delivered Friday in Belfast, May is to emphasis that the European Commission’s backstop proposals for the island of Ireland are in breach of the Belfast peace agreement and could never be accepted.
As May was busy with promoting the trade deal she wants with Brussels, the remaining 27-members of the EU were advised by officials to start preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Her newly appointed Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab travelled to Brussels Thursday for his first meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
During the meeting, Raab, who replaced David Davies following his resignation last week, offered to continue to meet Barnier throughout the summer to intensify the negotiations. In her speech Friday at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, May will reconfirm her firm rejection of the EU’s backstop proposal which would mean the creation of a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain.
May insists that the notion of a hard border is almost inconceivable. “It would not be acceptable for the thousands of people who cross and re-cross between the UK and Ireland every day or for firms whose supply and distribution chains span the border,” May says.
The prime minister said that under the agreement reached at her Chequers meeting with senior ministers, Britain set out how to resolve the border issue through a close future partnership between Britain and the EU.—Agencies