Donald Tusk dismisses Boris Johnson’s backstop plea

donald tusk

The President of the European Council has slapped down Boris Johnson’s suggestion that the Irish backstop be dealt with during transition.

Last night the Prime Minister published a letter to Donald Tusk, in which he suggested removing the “anti-democratic” backstop from the withdrawal agreement, suggesting it could be dealt with as part of the future relationship.

He offered no concrete solution, beyond an “alternative arrangement”, which he said would avert a no-deal Brexit.

Tusk did not immediately respond, but broke his silence this morning by implying Johnson’s position meant he “in fact support[s] reestablishing a border”.

The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found. Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.

The letter pre-empted Johnson’s bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, due to take place on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, ahead of the G7 summit in Biarritz.

This morning, Tory party chairman James Cleverly insisted it put the decision of whether the UK avoids a hard Brexit “largely now in the hands of the European Union negotiators”.