Belfast Telegraph

Lord Bew's plea over temporary backstop

By Staff Reporter

The backstop would turn the Good Friday Agreement on its head, according to a peer from Northern Ireland.

In a note for think tank the Policy Exchange, Lord Bew, a Remain voter, warned that the "UK Government has allowed the Irish Government to weaponise the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in a way that prevents compromise".

But the former adviser to ex-UUP leader David Trimble offered a way forward for Westminster that, he argues, could transform the terms of the debate around the withdrawal agreement by making the backstop temporary.

Lord Bew wrote: "The backstop, by placing key areas of North-South co-operation under the operation of a new regime, without the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly, would turn the Good Friday Agreement on its head.

"Unless the delicate structure of the Good Friday Agreement is preserved, the current deterioration in North-South relations might intensify in unpredictable and dangerous ways.

"Unionists especially could regard the backstop as a betrayal."

The leading historian added that the UK's commitment to the provisions of the 1998 Agreement means it "must insist that these are preserved and that the backstop is made temporary - in explicit and legally-binding terms".

Belfast Telegraph


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