Belfast Telegraph

Downing Street agree to no post-Brexit border in Irish sea

There will be no post-Brexit border in the Irish sea after Downing Street agreed to a legal guarantee on Monday evening.

An amendment to the Customs Bill currently making its way through Parliament, entitled 'New Clause 37' means no border can be established.

The amendment was supported by the DUP and the pro-Brexit element of the Conservative party and received the unanimous backing of MPs.

It has been speculated that the amendments effectively end the EU's 'Backstop' customs plan which would have seen Northern Ireland remain in the Customs Union in the event of a no-deal Brexit to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Speaking after the amendment was agreed SDLP Brexit spokesperson Claire Hanna said the people of Northern Ireland were let down by their MPs.

“The writing is on the wall, and written in bold; Remain voters and Nationalism has been let down and brought one step closer to catastrophic ‘no-deal’ Brexit," the South Belfast MLA said.

"Time and again, business and third sector representatives express frustration that local concerns and voices are not heard in this debate. Our MPs are refusing to make them heard.

"There are many ways to influence Brexit but this limping, destructive government just won by 3 votes. Ten DUP MPs are chasing extreme Brexit & seven Sinn Fein MPs don’t show up - either or both could have comfortably protected the interests of people here."

Alliance Party Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry said the agreement could lead to a hard border in Ireland.

“The Government has managed to undermine its own White Paper within less than a week. It was already flawed but now seems doomed. It is further disappointing Parliament sought to rule out any custom checks down the Irish Sea, without the opposition even forcing a division," the North Down MLA said.

“While that approach seems superficially sensible, it betrays a lack of understanding of the Brexit negotiations, and the interests of protecting the Good Friday Agreement and avoiding a devastating hard border on the island of Ireland."

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