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Across the water

'We're one United Kingdom' - Theresa May describes EU plans as an Irish Sea border

May says that the EU’s ‘backstop’ plan is not acceptable.

BBC News / YouTube

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has said that the EU’s ‘backstop’ proposals that could effectively keep Northern Ireland in the customs union are “not acceptable”.

The proposals were published in February with the EU saying they would only be needed if no solution was found on the issue of the Irish border.

Speaking today on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, May said this would separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK that this would be “not right”.

“What we’ve seen from the European Commission is an idea, one idea in particular that would effectively put a border down which would separate out Northern Ireland from Great Britain. That’s not right, that’s not acceptable, we’re one United Kingdom,” she said (after 19 mins in the above video).

May repeated that it crucial for everyone in the UK as a whole that no hard border would be implemented on the island of Ireland.

It is important for the people in Northern Ireland that we do not see a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The way I would put it is it’s about people being able to lead their lives and carry on leading their lives as they do today.

On trade, she added: “We want to make sure that we have an independent trade policy so we can negotiate trade deals around the rest of the world. There are some other aspects, we will continue to work with the European Union.”

In the interview, May also claimed that a “Brexit dividend” would help fund an additional £20 billion for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) over the next five years.

Making the claim, May referenced the infamous Leave promise that was plastered on the side of a bus during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

“At the end of five years, 2023-24, there will be £20 billion more in real terms being spent on the NHS,” May said.

Often politicians say figures like that and they don’t mean very much to people. Some people may remember seeing a figure on the side of a bus, £350 million-a-week. I can tell you that what I’m announcing will mean by 2023-24, there will be about £600 million-a-week more, in cash, going into the NHS.

And of course that will mean we’ll have to fund that money. That will be through the Brexit dividend, the fact that we will no longer be sending vast amounts of money ever year to the EU when we leave the EU. And of course we as a country will have to pay a bit more.

May’s NHS plans are to be announced more fully on tomorrow with Treasury Secretary Philip Hammond due to set out the tax increase that Britons would have to pay to fund them.

The NHS marks its 70th anniversary this year.

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