Brexit is one of the most pressing issues for the people of the UK. The journey started on the 23rd of June 2016, when the UK voted to leave the UK. This was the second time people voted on the membership of the EU within the last 41 years.
So lets start on the current issues. The UK Government has indicated it could support harmonised rules for the agriculture and food sector to prevent the need for any sanitary and other health checks on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. This is the widely used term of “backstop”.
The Lib Dems, meanwhile, are seeking to put distance between themselves and Labour by saying that if they win power at the next election they will have an “unequivocal” mandate to cancel Brexit entirely or possibly negotiate a better deal. What the deal they will negotiate, they have not clarified in their manifesto.
Law coming into force to prevent a no Brexit deal
We understand that the House of Lords with the Queen approving the law, that if the UK Government does not negotiate the deal to leave the EU i.e. have an agreement in place in particular the backstop, then the PM must write to the EU Commission for an extension by the 19th of Oct 2019. The target for the PM is to leave the EU by the 31st Oct 2019, however he cannot do this, as he would be breaking the rule of law and a judicial review application could be lodged to the Supreme Court. It may mean that the PM will have to extend Brexit until 31st Jan 2020 or agree within 2 days when the EU responds on the new date.
The alternative solutions for backstop
Now the proposal is that the PM is attempting to agree the following solutions:
- Use of technology. This would allow checks to be done prior the entering of the border.
- The “trusted trader scheme”, as those businesses would be allowed to enter due to their proven trustworthy and meeting certain standards. The issue in hand is whether the EU will accept this. The issue in hand is whether there will be an increase in smuggling.
- Mobile units. The proposed checks to be done prior entering the border.
- Existing EU law states that animal checks must take place at designated Border Inspections Posts (BIPs) “in the immediate vicinity of the point of entry” – which would include the Irish border.
The EU says “geographic constraints” are the only exception (eg mountains, cliffs, valleys, rivers). In these cases, “a certain distance from the point of introduction may be tolerated.” So getting the EU to allow checks to take place away from the border, for non-geographic reasons, would require a change in the rules.
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