Revised Brexit deal does not undermine backstop, says Irish PM

Leo Varadkar makes a statement regarding Brexit in Dublin on Tuesday

The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has said the revised Brexit deal does not undermine the backstop nor reopen the withdrawal agreement.

The backstop – an insurance policy to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland – will continue to apply “unless and until” it is replaced by future arrangements that ensure no hard border, he said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

Quick guide

Last-minute backstop changes explained

What was added to May’s withdrawal agreement?

Joint interpretative instrument

A legal add-on to the withdrawal agreement. It gives legal force to a letter from Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, the presidents of the commission and council, given to May in January. This stated the EU’s intention to negotiate an alternative to the backstop so it would not be triggered, or, if it was triggered, to get out of it as quickly as possible.

Unilateral statement from the UK

Sets out the British position that, if the backstop was to become permanent and talks on an alternative were going nowhere, the UK believes it would be able to exit the arrangement.

Additional language in political declaration

Emphasises the urgency felt on both sides to negotiate an alternative to the backstop, and flesh out what a technological fix would look like. Hoped to be enough to persuade the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, to change his initial legal advice that the backstop could be in place indefinitely. Daniel Boffey

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Addressing the media in Dublin, the taoiseach welcomed the agreement reached between the UK…

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