No majority in EU parliament remove backstop from Withdrawal Agreement — EU's Verhofstadt

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Jeremy Corbyn Brexit'must go back to the people

Tusk said in a tweet on Tuesday that "the backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found".

Johnson proposed that the backstop - part of the Withdrawal Agreement that then-prime minister Theresa May agreed previous year - be replaced with a "commitment" to implement alternative arrangements as part of a deal on the post-Brexit relationship. "Even if they do not admit it", Tusk wrote on Twitter.

In a letter to Tusk on Monday (19 August), Johnson insisted that the backstop, which aims to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, was "simply unviable" and "cannot form part of an agreed Withdrawal Agreement".

He has accepted the argument, advanced in a series of papers and articles by Lord Trimble and other senior unionists, that the backstop would breach one of the central principles of the Good Friday agreement - there should be no change in Northern Ireland's constitutional status without the consent of a majority of voters.

The EU has committed to exploring alternative arrangements - but only once a withdrawal agreement containing the backstop has been passed.

"Apart from, of course, the simple political reality that it has been rejected three times by the House of Commons, it is anti-democratic, it is inconsistent with the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, and, of course, it risks weakening the delicate balance, as is pointed out in the letter, between the parties to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement".

"We think there's a big opportunity now for everybody to come together, take out that backstop and the course of the negotiations on the free trade deal. which we're going to do after October 31, we will be bringing forward all the ways in which we can maintain frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border". He argues for "flexible and creative solutions". We talked about Brexit and how we can move rapidly on a US-UK free trade deal.

"I propose that the backstop should be replaced with a commitment to put in place (alternative) arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period, as part of the future relationship", Johnson wrote.

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Boris Johnson is making his first trip overseas as Prime Minister this week and he will be telling European Union leaders he wants a new Brexit deal.

Boris Johnson's focus here is the backstop.

A leaked report showed that the British government is preparing for widespread shortages of food, fuel and medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The UK does not want any border - effective or virtual - between Britain and Northern Ireland.

"It presents the whole of the United Kingdom with the choice of remaining in a customs union and aligned with those rules, or of seeing Northern Ireland gradually detached from the United Kingdom economy across a very broad range of areas", Johnson said.

It has also said the Irish backstop can not be removed from the withdrawal agreement.

In January, UK lawmakers backed an amendment by Conservative MP Graham Brady, supported by Theresa May's government, which called for "alternative arrangements" based on technological solutions to replace physical border checks and avoid a hard border.

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