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