Irish border: David Davis plays down breakthrough hopes

Irish border: David Davis plays down breakthrough hopes
Irish border: David Davis plays down breakthrough hopes
Image copyright AFP
Image caption David Davis is not sure agreement will be reached on the border

The Brexit Secretary has again played down the prospect of a breakthrough on the Irish border issue by the time of an EU summit next month.

David Davis told the Lords EU committee he was "not at all sure" there will be agreement on the 'border backstop' by June.

The UK has accepted the need for a backstop to be part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, in case the border issue cannot be solved in the context of a wider deal.

The EU's backstop proposal, which would mean Northern Ireland staying in the customs union and much of the single market, has been rejected by the UK.

Mr Davis said his officials are still working on a UK version of the backstop.

  • What will happen to the Irish border?
  • UK and EU agree terms for Brexit transition
Image copyright PA
Image caption David Davis has accepted the need for a backstop

On Monday the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier again warned that there will be no withdrawal agreement without the backstop.

Mr Davis also suggested that by October it could be possible to get a clear sense of the sort of trade deal which the UK and EU will do, which would make the backstop less important.

On Monday the Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, said it will take 18 months to two years to negotiate a future relationship agreement meaning it is "very important that we have this backstop as an insurance mechanism."

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