Theresa May Exchanges Letters With EU On Irish Backstop

14 January 2019, 11:16 | Updated: 14 January 2019, 15:28

Theresa May
Theresa May. Picture: Getty

The Prime Minister has exchanged letters with EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker over the Irish backstop arrangement.

Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk have released a letter offering "clarifications" to the UK's Withdrawal Agreement, stating that Brussels "does not wish to see the backstop enter into force" and confirming its "determination" to see it replaced.

The letter to Theresa May states that "we are not in a position to agree to anything that changes or is inconsistent with the Withdrawal Agreement".

In her letter to the EU leaders, Mrs May wrote: "The clarifications and undertakings proposed in this letter are consistent with the letter and spirit of the deal we have reached, but would be further reassurance that the fears that some hold on both sides are misplaced."

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Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker
Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker. Picture: Getty

In their response, Tusk and Juncker said that the European Council has decided to give "firm commitment to work speedily on a subsequent agreement that establishes by 31 December 2020 alternative arrangements, so that the backstop will not need to be triggered."

The letter ended by stating their intention to sign Theresa May's exit deal if it is supported in Parliament.

"We would like to make it clear that both of us will be prepared to sign the Withdrawal Agreement as soon as the meaningful vote has passed in the United Kingdom Parliament."

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