BORIS Johnson wants to agree a temporary new arrangement with Ireland that will guarantee no hard border as his bid to break the Brexit impasse, allies have revealed.
In the PM’s first salvo to renegotiate an exit deal, he called for talks on new “commitments” to replace the controversial Irish backstop that leaves Britain tied to EU rules.
The Sun has learned that Mr Johnson is ready to propose a new bilateral deal between London and Dublin to act as a bridge until stand-off border checks – dubbed ‘alternative arrangements’ – are ready.
Under the new idea, Ireland would win a special dispensation from Brussels to diverge from EU rules temporarily so it can stay aligned with the UK.
In turn, the London government would agree a common rule book on goods and standards with Dublin while the temporary arrangement lasts.
Javid boosts firms
SAJID Javid has boosted business’s No Deal preparations by automatically enrolling all firms into a new customs system.
Only half of exporters have so far signed up for the scheme that allows them to continue to trade with the EU after Brexit.
The Chancellor, right, said last night that he was issuing the remaining 88,000 VAT-registered firms across the UK with an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number in the next two weeks.
He said: “As the Government accelerates its preparation to leave the EU on October 31, it’s right businesses are prepared too.”
DEPENDENT ON BRITAIN
But the plan risks infuriating Irish politicians, who risked being accused of being dependent on Britain again, almost 100 years after Irish independence.
A senior minister told The Sun: “The solution is a bilateral agreement to agree a common rule book for Britain and Ireland for as long we need one.
“Ireland would also keep all the advantages of its single market membership, if the EU is prepared to be flexible.
“Ideally though, the EU would formally propose it rather than us to it is more acceptable to the Irish.”
No10 remained tight-lipped last night on any of Boris’s specific proposals.
But Mr Johnson hinted at his preferred plan in an interview with ITV News, saying that “there are plenty of other creative solutions”.
He added: “I’m going to go and see if I can explore those ideas with our friends in Germany and France, and at the G7. Let’s see where we get to.
“It may be that for now, they stick with the mantra, rien ne va plus, and they can’t change a jot. Let’s see how long they stick to that.”
Free trade expert Shanker Singham, of who authored a detailed plan for alternative arrangements, backed the proposal.
Cut down on EU meetings, says Boris
BORIS Johnson has ordered British ministers and officials to stop going to EU meetings ahead of the October 31 Brexit date.
The No10 edict will come into effect on September 1.
Britain will then only be represented when the UK has a “significant national interest”.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said: “From now on we will only go to the meetings that really matter, reducing attendance by over half and saving hundreds of hours.
“This will free up time to get on with preparing for our departure on October 31 and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.” But pro-EU Lib Dem MP Tom Brake called it “premature”.
The Institute of Economic Affairs’ Mr Singham said: “A bilateral agreement may be politically difficult for Ireland, but the alternative of no deal is much worse.
“A solution to all this must come from an agreement between the Irish and the Northern Irish, over what they are all prepared to accept.”
He added: “A common rulebook could involve a very slow divergence from EU rules, because it would not be in Britain’s interest to diverge overnight either. It would morph over time.”
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