UK 'cannot meet' EU deadline for Brexit plan and needs another year, government says

Jon Stone

The EU has set Britain a test it "cannot meet" with its demands for a backstop replacement, the Brexit Secretary has said.

Stephen Barclay said the UK should be given another year to find a new policy for the Irish border.

"We are told the UK must provide legally operative text by the 31st October," the cabinet minister said in a speech in Madrid.

"Yet the alternative to the backstop is not necessary until the end of the Implementation Period in December 2020.

"And this will be shaped by the future relationship – which is still to be determined.

"In short why risk crystallising an undesirable result this November, when both sides can work together – until December 2020.

"In summary, the EU risks continuing to insist on a test that the UK cannot meet and that the UK Parliament has rejected three times."

It comes after Emmanuel Macronissued an ultimatum in Paris on Wednesday, giving Boris Johnson until the end of September to table workable proposals.

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