LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday set out new plans for a fallback policy to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland if Brexit talks with the European Union do not produce a deal.
The so-called backstop agreement was aimed at defusing the latest Brexit row within her cabinet.
The following is a summary of the main points from the document:
- The government expects the future arrangement that could see Britain aligned with EU rules until the end of December 2021, a year longer than previously expected.
The currently agreed Brexit transition period is due to end on 31 December 2020 – 21 months after Britain formally leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.
“The UK expects the future arrangement to be in place by the end of December 2021 at the latest,” the document says.
- Britain will remain outside the Common Commercial Policy during this period meaning the government will be able to able to strike its own free-trade deals with other countries.
“The UK able to negotiate, sign and ratify free trade agreements (FTAs) with rest of world partners and implement those elements that do not affect the functioning of the temporary customs arrangement,” the document says.
- The backstop will cover the whole of the United Kingdom not just the province of Northern Ireland
- The new arrangement suggests an ongoing role for the European Court of Justice during the period, a move that may anger some eurosceptics in the ruling Conservative party who have long complained about being under the jurisdiction of the court.
“If as part of the future partnership, parliament passes an identical law to an EU law, it may make sense for UK courts to look at the appropriate ECJ judgements,” the document says.
Reporting By Andrew MacAskill, editing by Estelle Shirbon