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Theresa May Speaks Out In Favour Of Joint World Cup Bid

06 February 2019

Ms May acknowledged that there are concerns amongst nationalists in Northern Ireland about their rights post-Brexit - and that Northern Ireland voted to remain - but promised unequivocally that she will "not allow a return to a hard border" in Northern Ireland.

"There is no suggestion that we are not going to ensure that in the future there is provision for this - it's been called an insurance policy, the backstop - that ensures that if the future relationship is not in place by the end of the implementation period, there will be arrangements in place to ensure that we deliver no hard border".

It follows a day in which the Prime Minister faced hard questions on the economy, as new data indicated the uncertainty over Brexit could be leading to a slowdown.

With only 51 days left until Brexit kicks in on March 29, Minister Donohoe told the committee that he has met with top officials from the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which manages the country's debt, the Central Bank of Ireland and the Revenue Commissioners to assess readiness. The last time Theresa May was here she was expounding the values of the backstop and now we are in a situation where apparently the alternatives to the backstop are being explored.

"So while I have said that technology could play a part, and that we will look at alternative arrangements, these must be ones that can be made to work for the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland".

That's what last week's drama was all about - the so-called Brady amendment (which already feels a lifetime ago) passing Parliament paved the way for the prime minister to have another go at getting changes because it allows her to say to the European Union, "look, all those grumpy MPs could come on board, if only you are willing to give me this one thing - I know that you have said no in multiple languages, but it is the only way this is going to work".

Speaking in Northern Ireland, Sir Keir told the Press Association: "We recognise there is a need for a backstop at this stage of the exercise".

A leading global tourism body estimates that around 700,000 jobs in travel and tourism could be lost across Europe if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal on future relations.

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A source from the UK's Cabinet Office said: "These emergency evacuation plans have been in existence since the Cold War, but have now been repurposed in the event of civil disorder following a no-deal Brexit".

Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29, but no withdrawal agreement has been approved because Britain's Parliament has voted down May's plan. And the first time too she has some evidence to show that the deal could, in theory, pass through the Commons if the backstop was eventually changed.

It is seen as one of the main reasons the ERG changed its mind and backed an amendment last Tuesday tabled by Sir Graham Brady authorising Mrs May to go back to Brussels and seek a new deal with the backstop stripped out.

Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney warned that there are "no credible alternative arrangements" and said the United Kingdom is risking its peace process with Ireland by trying to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement.

She said she had a "very direct" meeting with the Prime Minister.

However, Geraint Davies MP for the Best for Britain campaign said: "They said we would take back control of our borders but now the plan is to wave things through irrespective of our safety". She will return from discussions with the European Union next week for a new vote on February 14.

Plans for Britain to leave the bloc on March 29 under a withdrawal agreement signed previous year were thrown into doubt when British lawmakers rejected the accord.

Theresa May Speaks Out In Favour Of Joint World Cup Bid