London, Aug 20 (IANS) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told the European Union (EU) that the backstop plan for the Irish border must be scrapped because it was “unviable” and “anti-democratic”, a media report said on Tuesday.
The backstop, part of the withdrawal agreement negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May which has been rejected by Parliament three times, is an insurance policy to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland, the BBC reported.
If implemented, it would see Northern Ireland stay aligned to some rules of the EU single market.
In a letter on Monday to European Council President Donald Tusk, Johnson said the backstop risked undermining the Northern Irish peace process.
Johnson described the arrangement as “inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK” and insisted it could not form part of a withdrawal agreement.
If the plan was removed, the Prime Minister claimed that a Brexit deal would be passed by parliament.
Brussels has however, not yet responded to Johnson’s letter.
The EU has consistently insisted the backstop must remain part of the withdrawal agreement and cannot be changed.
In a phone conversation with Johnson on Monday evening, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar reiterated that the agreement could not be reopened and the backstop could not change, the BBC reported.
Reacting to the letter, the opposition Labour Party pointed out that Johnson had previously voted for May’s deal, including the backstop.
“Whichever Brexit outcome he pursues, whether it’s a disastrous no deal or this fantasy land wish list, Boris Johnson clearly has no qualms about putting jobs, rights, prosperity or peace in Northern Ireland at risk,” shadow Northern Ireland secretary Tony Lloyd said.