Irish Journalist Fintan O'Toole's Brilliant Analysis Of Boris Johnson's Brexit Deal

17 October 2019, 12:39

Leading Irish journalist Fintan O'Toole said Boris Johnson's Brexit deal has got rid of the backstop - by putting it front and centre.

Mr Johnson unveiled his withdrawal agreement, insisting it was a great deal and urging parliament to back it.

James O'Brien spoke to Fintan O'Toole, a journalist who has been at the cutting edge of Brexit over the last three years and gave a fascinating analysis of the deal.

He told LBC: "Boris Johnson says 'You hated the backstop. I got rid of the backstop.'

"This is true, but in a way, he got rid of the backstop by making it the front stop. That was an insurance policy, a safety net in case a future trade deal wasn't agreed.

"This is scrapping that and saying we're going straight to the backstop, straight to a Northern Ireland-only backstop - something that was available two years ago."

James O'Brien spoke to Fintan O'Toole about Boris Johnson's Brexit deal
James O'Brien spoke to Fintan O'Toole about Boris Johnson's Brexit deal. Picture: LBC / PA

Soon after the Prime Minister announced his deal, the DUP insisted that they would not back it in a vote in parliament. Fintan explained how the DUP's position has been so tricky.

He said: "The DUP has painted itself into a terrible corner. Johnson's initial proposal was this weird version of the two borders - the Single Market border in the Irish Sea and the Customs border on the island of Ireland.

"The DUP accepted that, which to me was inexplicable. I couldn't understand why they were accepting the principle that Northern Ireland would be fundamentally different to the rest of the UK, but then not solving the problem.

"Having done that, it's very difficult for them to sell to the constituency the idea that they had protected the union.

"They quite rightly say this arrangement weakens the union. Absolutely it does.

"But it does so for the more fundamental reason that Brexit weakens the union. There is no form of Brexit that doesn't pour a very large pool of doubt over the future of the United Kingdom.

"The DUP has had no strategic sense in all of this in asking where the interest is for those who are unionists."