BORIS Johnson has ruled out a Northern Ireland only backstop after an Irish EU chief said chances of a Brexit deal are rising.
Bo-Jo told a People’s PMQ’s session that he “would not accept” any form of backstop in talks with the bloc because it “simply doesn’t work for the UK”.
The backstop, the most controversial element of Theresa May’s deal, has been a constant stumbling block in Brexit negotiations.
But the PM was handed a boost this week when Phil Hogan, a nominee for EU trade commissioner, said the “penny had dropped” after he suggested an “all-Ireland” farming market after our divorce from the bloc.
He later told RTE: "I also note that the British prime minister has moved away from his position…where he's now prepared to look at divergence of certain rules and regulations on the island of ireland vis-a-vis the United Kingdom.
"So I think there's movement happening on both sides."
Under the plan, Northern Ireland would match Irish and EU rules in certain sectors after Brexit to avoid the need for a hard border.
The idea mimics a compromise offer The Sun revealed European capitals were brainstorming – where the province would mirror Brussels on animal and plant health.
It threatens to enrage Ulster unionists by effectively putting a virtual border down the Irish Sea between Britain and Northern Ireland.
Crucially we will not accept either a Northern Ireland only Backstop that simply doesn’t work for United Kingdom.
During his Q&A, live-streamed on Facebook today, the PM ruled out any such backstop arrangement.
He told Brits: “The UK will not accept the current Withdrawal Agreement.
“But crucially we will not accept either a Northern Ireland only Backstop that simply doesn’t work for United Kingdom.
“I’m on your side were trying to sort this out, we will, we work very for a deal and we’re making great progress.
“I had some very good talks with Leo Varadkar in Dublin. I’ve talked to Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel and the mood is changing, the ice flows are cracking.
“We can do this thing absolutely, but we what cannot dot is fail to honour the commitment that parliamentarians made to British people – and that’s to come out of the EU and not extend Article 50.
“Once Brexit is done we can get on with taking the country forward.”
The PM’s comments come after he had crunch Brexit talks with DUP boss Arlene Foster and the party’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds in No10 yesterday.
Foster said they had a “very good meeting” and the government would not back the idea of a northern Irish backstop because it would not have “unionist consent”.
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