Ireland has hit out at reports that Britain wants the right to pull out of any so-called Irish border backstop arrangement after a short period of time.
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said a deal in which Britain could decide to close the Irish border by itself would not pass muster with Ireland or the EU.
“The Irish position remains consistent and v clear that a ‘time-limited backstop’ or a backstop that could be ended by UK unilaterally would never be agreed to by Ireland or the European Union,” Coveney said on Twitter.
“These ideas are not backstops at all + don’t deliver on previous UK commitments.”
His comments come after Brexit secretary Dominic Raab reportedly demanded that he be allowed to pull Britain out of the backstop arrangement after three months.
A backstop arrangement is thought to be the major obstacle to the UK and EU agreeing a Brexit deal that would allow negotiations to begin on a future trading relationship.
The sides are debating how to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed deal to keep the UK in the EU customs union for the foreseeable future was rejected by Brussels in recent weeks.
But EU diplomats have suggested a compromise in order to break the Brexit deadlock.
That would see Britain and Northern Ireland remain a single customs territory under World Trade Organization rules while still being linked in a customs union with the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU.
It comes after Raab reportedly told Coveney he wanted Britain to be able to quit any backstop arrangement after just three months, according to the Telegraph.
The UK would be able to ask for a so-called review mechanism after either three or six months of the backstop coming into effect, the Financial Times reported today.
Raab has claimed he could agree a Brexit deal by 21 November, a deadline Downing Street has distanced itself from.