A temporary ‘backstop’ which would effectively keep the UK in the EU’s customs union should only last a year, the Government has proposed.
In a document setting out what would happen if the UK’s future customs deal with the EU isn’t in place by the end of the transition period, it is suggested the current rules would continue until December 2021.
The proposal was published after a series of crunch meetings between Brexit Secretary David Davis and Prime Minister Theresa May, with Davis reportedly angry that the initial draft did not place a time limit on the length of the “temporary” backstop.
While a compromise appears to have been reached, the position paper – which is still to be agreed by Brussels – says the UK only “expects” the new customs arrangements to be in place by December 2021, suggesting the backstop could be extended.
The document also says the UK would be able to implement new trade deals - something which Brussels may push back against.
A source close to Davis told HuffPost UK: “Obviously there’s been a back and forth on this paper, as there always is whenever the government publishes anything.
“The backstop paper has been amended and now expresses, in much more detail, the time limited nature of our proposal - something the PM and DD have always been committed to.”
The backstop would kick in if the UK and the EU are unable to find another way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.
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