James Forsyth

Why the Brexit backstop is causing trouble

Why the Brexit backstop is causing trouble
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The government’s proposal for a UK-wide backstop will not contain an end date. This, as the Times' Sam Coates points out, is bound to be controversial. For if the backstop contains no end date, it could end up running indefinitely. Indeed, with the UK in a customs union and having to follow EU rules on goods and agriculture, it is hard to see what incentive the EU would have to discuss a trade deal. After all, what would be left to discuss would be services: where the UK has a £92 billion surplus.

There is a meeting of the Brexit inner Cabinet tomorrow. But as Tom Newton Dunn and Harry Cole point out in this morning’s Sun, this is not meant to be discussing the backstop but tidying up other issues related to the withdrawal agreement. But the absence of an end date for the backstop means that it is now bound to be raised in the Brexit inner Cabinet.