FT: Theresa May on Friday urged the EU to “evolve” its position in the Brexit talks to resolve the vexed question of the Irish border, and warned Eurosceptics in the Conservative party that the UK cannot “wash our hands of any responsibility for it”. The prime minister said the notion of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit was “almost inconceivable” and would cause unacceptable political and economic disruption.
On a visit to Northern Ireland, Mrs May said that under her Brexit plan agreed by the cabinet this month, the UK had set out how to resolve the border issue through a close future partnership between Britain and the EU.
The plan calls for a “free trade area on goods” between the UK and the EU, avoiding the need for customs and regulatory checks at the Irish border. In a speech in Belfast, Mrs May said that Britain had developed proposals for the future partnership between the UK and the EU and it was “now for the EU to respond”.
The Guardian reported that the Irish government has said it is open to the possibility of a fresh proposal for a deal on the border issue, but will only consider a new plan if it is better than the one on the table.
The Irish finance minister, Paschal Donohoe, was speaking hours after Theresa May demanded the EU abandon its stance and “evolve its position” to include a guarantee there would be no border in the Irish Sea in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“The only thing that could replace this current form of a backstop is, number one, something which is better, number two, something which is agreed, and number three, something that would be legally operable,” Donohoe told the Irish broadcaster RTÉ.