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UK report says alternative to backstop 'should be fully up and running within three years'

Two Remain-supporting MPs are behind the report.

A cart for sale at the side of the road on the northern side of the Irish border.
A cart for sale at the side of the road on the northern side of the Irish border.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

A UK REPORT looking into potential alternative arrangements to prevent a hard border in Ireland has recommended that a working arrangement “should be fully up and running within three years”.

The report is by the Alternative Arrangements Commission, a group which is backed by two Remain-supporting MPs Nicky Morgan and Greg Hands.

The report noted that the Brady amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement which sought to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements passed the House of Commons in January.

In looking at the potential for alternative arrangements to be found, the report states that “new technology has a role to support policy” but that methods used at the beginning of the process “should already be in use elsewhere”.

To ensure that standards are maintained in the area food and agricultural produce, the report recommends that checks be carried out “by mobile units away from the border”. 

This would potentially mean checks at farms or at food production facilities. 

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Writing today in The Times, Morgan and Hands said it is “ludicrous” to suggest that an alternative arrangement is “some sort of high-tech unicorn”. 

“While we should always be open to innovation, these solutions can be implemented within three years, with some measures introduced much sooner, subject to political agreement, ensuring the backstop is not triggered, or if it is, there is a clear route map out of it,” they say. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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