Wednesday 2 October 2019 10:48 am

UK's 'Two borders, four years' Brexit offer gets mixed backing

Boris Johnson’s “final offer” on Brexit has already been rejected by some of the key players, hours before being officially unveiled.

As reported by City AM last night, the Prime Minister is set to submit the UK’s legal text to Brussels later today, coinciding with a keynote speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

Johnson’s team have already told EU counterparts that this is the last proposal to be put forward ahead of 31 October, with Downing Street insisting that Brexit will go ahead, despite parliament passing a law that MPs believe will force an extension until January.

While details of the legal text remain scarce, some information is trickling out. Multiple papers are reporting that it will include a “two borders, four years” proposal.

That would mean the UK leaves with a status quo transition period running to the end of December 2020. Northern Ireland would then remain in regulatory alignment with the EU until 2025 but come out of the customs union with the rest of the UK.

After 2025, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would decide on the level of regulatory alignment through a Belfast-Dublin “bilateral lock” in a British-Irish ministerial council.

However proposals would mean customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic from 1 January 2021.

Irish broadcaster RTÉ quoted a Dublin government source saying Johnson’s deal would not be acceptable.

The DUP has indicated it will give the proposals its backing.

But the DUP’s rival Fianna Fáil, described the plans as “unacceptable and unworkable”.

Lisa Chambers, Brexit spokesperson for the party, tweeted: “UK is reneging on commitments made to citizens on the island of Ireland that there would be no hard border. This would set our country back years. You would have to question if PM Johnson is genuinely serious about getting a deal, this suggests not.

“We need to see something that is credible and if this is what is being proposed it certainly won’t be acceptable not only to the Irish government but to the EU as a whole.”

None of the key figures from Brussels, such as Michel Barnier or Donald Tusk, have yet commented on the proposal.

The Prime Minister is expected to give his speech at 11:45 today.

Main image: Getty

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