British opposition wants legislation on N. Ireland border after Brexit

British Brexit negoatitor David Davis (L) and European Union negotiator Michel Barnier (R) and British negotiatory David Davis reached an agreement Monday to establish a 21-month transition plan for when Britain leaves the bloc next March. On Sunday, Davis said said technological developments mean there is no question of returning “to the border of the past” with Ireland. Photo by Oliver Hoslet/EPA

March 25 (UPI) — Britain’s opposition Labor Party on Sunday demanded the government legally promise to prevent a hard border with North Ireland after the kingdom leaves the European Union.

Currently, the government only is pledging to avoid to avoid buildings, customs posts and cameras at Northern Ireland’s border crossings, but the party’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, said the party wants legislation.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU last Monday reached a provisional deal on the post-Brexit transition over 21 months through the end of 2020, including significant parts of the withdrawal treaty. But the Irish border remains an issue.

May has ruled out ruled a customs union, backed by Labor, with many Conservative lawmakers demanding that Britain cleanly breaks from the EU.

Brexit Secretary David Davis, speaking Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, said it was “overwhelmingly likely” that the border issue would be solved in the context of a trade and customs agreement.”

Because of technological developments, there is no doubt of returning “to the border of the past.”

“We will find an option C,” Davis said. “There is a risk in trying to focus just on the downsides because the real likely outcome — the overwhelmingly likely outcome — is option A. Option A is that we get a free-trade agreement, we get a customs agreement. All of those make the Northern Ireland issue much, much easier to solve.”

Labor wants a vote in Parliament on the Brexit deal and not another public referendum.

On Friday, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn fired his Northern Ireland spokesman Owen Smith after he called for a second referendum.

“Owen does know how collective responsibility works,” Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, told Marr. “I don’t think Jeremy had a choice but to ask him to stand down. He was right on that.”

On Monday, talks will begin in Brussels, Belgium, on reaching a deal on the Irish border, including discuss customs, food safety, animal health and the regulation of other goods.

More talks also a planned next Monday.

In June, EU leaders will assess progress at their next summit.


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