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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 30 May, 2020

'Summon up the blood': The best Brexit quotes from another colourful week

Everyone has a hot take…

Image: Han Yan/PA

IT WAS ANOTHER week of votes, spats and misinformation as the Brexit saga continues.

This week the British Parliament voted in favour of a proposal to go back to the EU to seek ‘alternative arrangements’ to replace the Irish backstop. 

Here are some of the stand-out quotes from the week:

So now is the time to stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood and get on that trusty BAE 146 and go back to Brussels and get it.

Boris Johnson was confident on Monday that Theresa May would fight for a “freedom clause” from the EU.

“There is a very real risk of crash out. Not by design but by accident,” senior EU negotiator Sabine Weyand said that same day. She told reporters that the negotiation is finished and discussions about the backstop were “like Groundhog day”.

On Tuesday DUP leader Arlene Foster confirmed her party was endorsing a proposal which would see the backstop replaced by ‘alternative arrangements’.

And in doing so she took a pop at our government:

There is no better time to advance this alternative given the confusion and disarray which is now manifesting itself in Brussels. This has been displayed both by the contradictory EU statements and the panic-stricken behaviour of the Irish government.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen had soundbites at the ready when he spoke to Channel 4′s Jon Snow:

The proposal received the backing of a majority of MPs when they voted in the House of Commons. Theresa May told the parliament that this would send a message to the European Union that she could win support for her plans if the backstop is removed:

“We have the chance to show the European Union what it will take to get a deal through this House of Commons. What it will take to move beyond the confusion, division and uncertainty that now hangs over us.”

On Thursday Tory MP John Whittingdale attempted to argue that there were officials in Europe who supported the UK’s position. He had trouble remembering who they were though…

It was dubbed ‘Theresa’s Triumph’ by the UK media but Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney was not so complimentary the day after the vote:

He compared the British government’s latest negotiating tactic to saying “unless you give me what I want I’m jumping out the window”.

We also heard on Wednesday from former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab who told a British committee on Northern Ireland that it would be possible to renegotiate the backstop if they found “a ladder for the Irish government to climb down”. And he accused the Taoiseach of leaking inaccurate information to the media about a meeting he and Coveney had about the backstop.

The government rubbished these claims about Leo Varadkar leaking inaccurate information. Simon Coveney’s advisor said this was “pure spoof”.

And the week ended yesterday with a row over a footnote in a European Council document.

The document, laying out proposals to give British nationals short-stay, visa-free access to the EU’s borderless Schengen area after Brexit, described Gibraltar as “a colony of the British crown”.

Theresa May’s spokesperson said it was “completely unacceptable to describe Gibraltar in this way”.

“Gibraltar is a full part of the UK family and this will not change due to our exit from the EU.”

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