- Brexit Secretary David Davis told MPs that the government is aiming for “alignment” with the EU after Brexit.
- It follows talks over the Irish border failing after the DUP vetoed proposals for Northern Ireland to have “regulatory alignment” with the EU.
- Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says “the ball is in London’s court.”
LONDON – The Brexit secretary has said that the government is aiming for the UK to still have “alignment” with the European Union after Brexit.
Speaking in the House of Commons, David Davis told MPs: “Alignment isn’t harmonisation, it isn’t having exactly the same rules, it’s sometimes having mutually recognised rules, mutually recognised inspections, that sort of thing. That’s what we are aiming for.”
The Brexit secretary said: “Any regulatory alignment we get as part of Brexit deal for Northern Ireland will apply for the whole country.”
This is similar to what Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson called for on Tuesday morning, saying the whole of the UK to have regulatory alignment with the EU if that is what is needed to continue a “frictionless” Irish border.
It was widely reported on Monday that Theresa May had agreed a deal with the Irish government that there would be “regulatory alignment” between Northern Ireland and the EU after
However, this was met with incredulity from the DUP with their leader Arlene Foster warning in a press conference that they “will not accept” any such deal.
Brexit negotiations are at stalemate over a solution to the Irish border once the UK leaves the EU, with talks failing on Monday due to the DUP’s antipathy to “regulatory alignment.”
However, when Davis was asked by the pro-Brexit Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg to set a red line that there would be regulatory “divergence” between the UK and EU, the Brexit secretary said: “The red line for me is delivering the best Brexit deal.”
He also said it was “emphatically” not the case that the government wanted to leave Northern Ireland in the single market or customs union while the rest of the UK stopped being members.
David did say: “There are areas we want the same outcome [as the EU] but by different regulatory methods.”
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer told Davis: “What an embarrassment. The last 24 hours gives a new meaning to coalition of chaos.”
DUP: “Words are important”
DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds told reporters there was “far too much ambiguity” in the detail of the proposed post-Brexit Irish border deal between UK and EU.
He said: “Words are important,” and “These issues are of such vital importance to our nation as a whole that we must work for as long as it is necessary to ensure that they are got right.”
Dodds also claimed that the DUP “only received written text [of the Brexit deal] late yesterday morning… it was clearly unacceptable.”
During leader’s questions in the Irish parliament, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told TDs that “the ball is in London’s court.”
Varadkar said: “We do very much regret that it wasn’t possible to conclude the deal yesterday.”