British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants the European Union to come forward with relatively small concessions on Brexit as the door is still ajar but unless the bloc budges there will be a no-trade deal exit, a minister said on Monday.
“It would be sensible at this point for them to go that extra mile, to come closer to us on the points that remain for discussion. They haven’t done so yet and that’s disappointing,” Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News.
“And if they’re not able to do so then we won’t be able to conclude the discussions in the way that both sides I think would like to at this point,” he said. “We hope that they could come forward now with some relatively small but important changes which respect us as an independent sovereign nation.”
The solution was to shift from a time limit to what officials now call an “event limit” — meaning a simple majority of the Northern Irish Assembly can vote to abandon the new, special customs arrangement after four years. It’s not a veto, but it is consent, and it allows Johnson to boast that he demolished the “undemocratic” backstop and gave the people of Northern Ireland a say over their own fate.
For their part, some in the EU are warming to the new backstop replacement. “It’s much easier than a time limit,” one EU diplomat said, “because we can talk to people and convince them.”