Tory minister: Unacceptable to keep Brexit customs backstop in place until 2022
A Conservative minister today insisted it would be unacceptable for the UK to remain tied to the EU customs regime as part of the so-called Brexit ‘backstop’ as it heads into the next election.
Dominic Raab argued the emergency plan to ensure the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland stays open should not be in place lafter December 2021.
It came just hours after Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington appeared to suggest the UK could still be aligned to the EU tariff regime well into 2022.
The issue burst to the fore this week as Brexit Secretary David Davis battled Theresa May to slip the date into the latest UK customs plan.
Brexit supporters fearful of remaining tied to the bloc were furious that the Government was about to publish its backstop proposal with no specific date as to when it might be end.
But the dramatic showdown ended in a fudge - with the Government saying it “expects" to be untangled from the EU’s customs system by the end of 2021, but with no guarantee.
However Mr Raab this morning sought to shut down concerns that the Government could go into the next election - due in 2022 - with the backstop plan still in full swing.
"That is wrong and we wouldn’t be able to accept that arrangement," the pro-Brexit Housing Minister told the BBC Sunday Politics show.
"The backstop would end by December 2021. But the key thing is this is the worst case scenario.
"We are confident that as we make progress with the trade talks. We will be in a better position well before then."
He added: “It's right to make sure you are prepared for all eventualities. That is the responsible thing to do."
Just hours earlier, de-facto deputy prime minister David Lidington appeared to leave the door open to the UK still operating under the backstop well into 2022.
He told the BBC Andrew Marr show: "We will have left the EU at the end of March 2019…
“Certainly, the PM’s intention, my hope, everybody is working towards getting this sorted as soon as we possibly can.”