Michel Barnier raises doubts about UK’s Brexit backstop plan – Politics live

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator questions plan unveiled on Thursday. Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

Ireland’s prime minister Leo Varadkar dismissed the idea of a time-limited backstop earlier today.

Using a phrase the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier used in a subsequent tweet (see 2.02pm), Varadkar told reporters in Dublin that the backstop had to be an insurance policy for “all weather” not just for the UK’s convenience. He said:

The principle that is in the existing backstop that is supported by the 27 EU member states is that it applies at least until there is an alternative in place. It is not something that can be just time limited.

It has to be as they say ’all weather’, it has to be applicable until such a time if and when there is a new relationship between the EU and UK that prevents a hard border.

This temporary arrangement would only come into force following the implementation period, in specific and narrow circumstances, such as a delay in the implementation of the end state customs arrangement, and would be time-limited.

Sky’s Lewis Goodall thinks David Davis hasn’t come out of it all that badly.

Lots of talk that para 26 isn’t a time limit but just an expectation of one. True- but remember to read paragraph 6 too. That explicitly says that the backstop would be time limited. Number 10 has written one paragraph for brexiteers one for Brussels and hoping neither notices. pic.twitter.com/HVMBY5Nxsm

Don’t think DD has been outwitted especially. Ultimately he has inserted a date, albeit a caveated one, flexed his muscles and shown the whole of Westminster (esp Civil servants/number 10) that an agreement can’t be made without him. That’s not a bad morning’s work.

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