The European Union is ready to make a “major concession” on a Brexit deal by offering a mechanism for the Northern Irish assembly to leave a new so-called backstop after a number of years, The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Talks with the EU to reach an agreement on Britain’s departure have hit an impasse over the backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland if a future trade deal falls short of keeping the border open.
The new idea, as reported by the Times, would be a modified version of the consent principle.
Citing diplomatic sources close to the talks, the Times said European governments were prepared to “concede a unilateral revocation of the withdrawal treaty by Stormont after a period of time. The date of 2025 has been mooted, as long as both communities agree to it.
Sterling jumped more than 0.5% against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after the report in The Times newspaper.
MPs will be called to Parliament for a special Saturday sitting in a decisive day for the future of Brexit.
Parliament will meet on 19 October after a crunch EU summit – seen as the last chance for the UK and EU to agree a deal ahead of 31 October deadline.
If a deal is agreed, Boris Johnson will ask MPs to approve it – but if not, a range of options could be presented.