May dodges ’backstop’ deadline

May dodges ’backstop’ deadline

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to guarantee that her “backstop” plan on customs deals after Brexit would end by December 2021.
She was forced to agree a cut-off date after Brexit “bulldog” David Davis threatened to quit but, on arrival at the G7 summit in Canada, she refused to give a “cast-iron guarantee” that the end date would not be pushed back.
The arrangement would see London match EU trade tariffs.
It would be used if a permanent customs arrangement is not in place at the end of the proposed 21-month transition period, with the aim of avoiding a hard border in Ireland.
May said she was “very clear” that a customs arrangement was expected to be in place “at the very latest” by December 2021.
The “backstop” plan was “something that we don’t want ever to happen”, the crisis-ridden premier said.
“The point about the backstop is that it only comes in if, for technical reasons, the agreed end-state customs arrangement has not been possible to put in place by January 1, 2021.”

‘Slow lane’

The UK runs the risk of being overtaken by other developed economies because of Brexit, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reported.
The lobby group said the looming departure from the EU and the global rise in protectionism remained a challenge to investment.
Unfavourable outcomes from Brexit negotiations could disrupt the economy and financial markets more than expected, it said.
The CBI predicted: “Downside risks to the global outlook remain significant: particularly from the prospect of further protectionist action on trade, and the implications of political instability in Italy for the wider eurozone.
“This makes the need to focus on the drivers of domestic success, where government and business have greater control, critical for driving growth.”
The lobby group, which represents 190,000 UK employers; predicted 1.3-per-cent growth for 2019 with inflation of 2.1 per cent, broadly in line with the Bank of England figures.
Living standards would continue to be harmed by weak productivity, despite increasing real-pay growth, the CBI said.


But the former Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliott has said he is beginning to question whether Brexit will ever happen.
The “soft-Brexit supporter” accused May of being “weak” and “given a huge uplift to those anti-Brexiteers… within the UK parliament to have much more of a say”.
The Northern Irish politician told the BBC: “I’ve always believed up to quite recently Brexit was unchallenged almost, that it was definitely going to happen, that it was going to take place.
“I suppose in the last number of weeks I’ve almost started even questioning that because I just see such an emphasis from the remain camp and throughout Europe and in the UK parliament that, you know, anything is liable to happen.
“I’m not saying it will not, I’m just saying it is much more uncertain now than it would have been three or four months ago.”


Theresa May is a regular target for anti-Brexit activists. Picture credit: Eurasia Times




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.