Coveney: EU will not accept Withdrawal Agreement without backstop

Coveney: EU will not accept Withdrawal Agreement without backstop

The government has again insisted that the Brexit backstop cannot be binned.

It comes as British politicians are trying to ditch it from the Withdrawal Agreement.

The government changed tack significantly over the weekend by engaging with UK media to spread the message that the backstop is 100% needed.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney going a step further this morning in Cork.

"Just because they want to attempt to vote something through in Westminster that doesn't mean that the EU will automatically accept that," said Mr Coveney.

I don't believe they will. I don't believe that a Withdrawal Agreement will be ratified in the European Parliament if there is not a backstop in it.

"I don't believe a Withdrawal Agreement will be agreed by EU governments if there isn't a backstop in it."

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe reinforced the line this morning saying: "The Withdrawal Treaty has been agreed by the European Union that Withdrawal Treaty contains a backstop.

"The Irish government and the European Union are clear that neither will be changing."

But British politicians are trying to dilute it.

Tory MP Graham Brady has put forward a motion that will be debated tomorrow to ditch the backstop.

"We are trying to make it possible for people to come forward with creative proposals," said Mr Brady.

"It might be that instead of reopening the Withdrawal Agreement itself you would have a legally binding codicil to it.

"There are different ways you can do it."

David Cullinane
David Cullinane

However, Sinn Féin's David Cullinane rubbished the idea.

"Let's stop the fantasy politics and the notion that we can somehow have new solutions and new ideas coming from the Tory party given that we've had two years of negotiations is nonsense," said Mr Cillinane.

Tomorrow will be a significant day for the future of Brexit as MPs take a series of votes that could affect Theresa May's negotiating power, or take the impetus away from her altogether.

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