26 November 2018
Brexit Withdrawal Agreement: Vara questions PM on the Northern Ireland backstop

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on the negotiations to leave the European Union, Shailesh Vara asks the PM about the implementation of the backstop if an extended implementation period expired without us reaching an agreement with the EU.

Mr Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) (Con)

In my right hon. Friend’s response to my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), and indeed to other Members, she said that there are alternatives to the backstop. For the sake of clarity, if there were to be an extension to the implementation period and we had not yet reached an agreement with the EU when the extended period expired, would the backstop then kick in, or would it have fallen away?

The Prime Minister

I referenced the situation in which the backstop would cease to apply in my statement, and it was further referenced by the right hon. Member for Belfast North (Nigel Dodds), the leader of the Democratic Unionist party. The alternative arrangements being considered could be in place to provide for the border in Northern Ireland instead of using the backstop or the extension of the implementation period, and crucially to provide for an alternative for coming out of the backstop were the future relationship not in place.