Dublin rages at UK border proposal

Dublin rages at UK border proposal

Citizens crossing the Irish border would have to register in advance to avoid checks and delays after Brexit under a divisive plan being considered in London. 

Those without a “fast-track movement” pass would have to use approved crossing points or would be “considered to have entered the state irregularly”, the proposal argued.

Despite UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s promises the border would continue to have no “physical infrastructure”, both security cameras and technology to record registration plates would be needed at crossing points, according to the study.

May has told MPs she has “asked officials to look at [the study] very carefully”. “I believe it gives some very good proposals for solutions,” the enfeebled prime minister said.

The decision to consider the plan was heavily criticised in Dublin, saying the suggestions broke  May’s promise of no “physical infrastructure and associated checks” after Brexit.

Peter Hain, the former Northern Ireland secretary under the Labour government, warned that the proposal to pre-register citizens “would be risking immediate civil unrest”.

“If I was Northern Ireland secretary and this report came on to my desk, its next stop would be the bin,” Hain said.

However, the package of measures attracted support from the pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up May’s minority administration, saying it was “as an excellent foundation to build on”.

“I strongly recommend that all read this – borders, in summary, need to be dragged into the 21st century,” argued DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly.

Bloomberg has reported that the London civil service does not expect any Brexit deal until two months before the departure date next March, increasing the chances of instability.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier says he wants the withdrawal agreement agreed by October so that there is time for it to go to the many parliaments across Europe for approval. Brexit “bulldog” David Davis has admitted this might face delays but government sources apparently see January as the deadline.

The delay prolongs uncertainty for businesses over trading rules but leaving it until the last moment could also hinder parliament’s ability to reject any deal May reaches.

MPs have been promised a “meaningful vote” on any deal, but if it is feared parliamentarians might be given a choice between whatever Brussels offers and a no-deal, “hard” Brexit.

Bungling Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said this week that the government was prepared to leave the talks if the EU refused to offer a suitable deal, the Telegraph reported. “It doesn’t hold terrors for me and we will do very well under those circumstances,” Johnson said.


Pro-EU protesters in Manchester last year. Picture credit: Eurasia Times

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