Focus must now return to hammering out a Brexit deal – Richmond

-   Senator Neale Richmond

The focus of Brexit talks must now return to hammering out a deal in the coming days, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Speaking following Theresa May’s speech to her Conservative Party’s annual conference, spokesman on European Affairs, Neale Richmond, said: “As expected, the past few days have been the most difficult in the Brexit process with incendiary plans from former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, in his newspaper column.

“There were ridiculous comparisons between the EU and the USSR from current Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in his conference speech; not to mention the unhelpful comments from Arlene Foster in relation to the Good Friday Agreement.

“Regrettably we must accept that Brexit is coming and while there is no such thing as a good Brexit, there is a responsibility on all involved to limit the damage of Brexit and hammer out a deal that can maintain the closest possible relationship, something the Prime Minister has a shared desire for.

“Although the Prime Minister repeatedly mentioned in her conference speech that she is not afraid to bring the UK out of the EU without a deal, she sensibly points out that this would be extremely tough on all involved, particularly the UK.

“The rhetoric of a no deal Brexit may appeal to the rabid Brexiteer fringe but the practical impacts would be massively negative to all Britons bar the most opportunistic of disaster capitalists. Going down the no deal route may not scare Theresa May but it should.

“The Prime Minister must be clear in the knowledge that the EU wants a deal, wants to limit the damage, but any deal must take into account of the very obvious desire to protect the continuing future of the EU as well as most importantly maintaining peace in Northern Ireland by keeping the border open and seamless.

“The EU has no intention of locking the UK into the EU nor does the EU seek to split up the UK.

“A close and deep trading relationships with agreements on customs can succeed in those difficult aims.

“However, a trade deal alone – be it Canada or some other model – simply does not achieve all the desired aims alone.

“Regardless of the headlines, speeches and opinion pieces; the EU continues to negotiate in good faith with Theresa May and her Government.

“Michel Barnier and Dominic Raab will meet again shortly while the negotiating teams will continue their hard work up until the very last moment.

“Following the Prime Minister’s speech in Birmingham, it is vital now that the focus of Brexit talks must now return to hammering out a deal in the coming days.

“With the clock ticking, we need to see more detail from the British Government, the speeches must end, an alternative legal interpretation of the backstop agreed upon in December needs to be tabled.

“We need a deal, the UK needs a deal. Both sides can come together and achieve this.”

ENDS

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