London And Dublin Make Progress On Backstop Alternative

TBG understands that Boris and Downing Street are continuing to make considerable progress as regards an alternative for the Northern Ireland Backstop.

Simon Coveney, the Irish deputy prime minister, reveals in tomorrow’s Times that there is “significant informal contacts with British cabinet ministers on a regular basis now concerning alternatives.”

Coventry says - “I’ve met Stephen Barclay, I’ve met Dominic Raab, I’ve spoken to Michael Gove at length. I meet and speak with Julian Smith on a regular basis. We had dinner last night in Dublin and spoke for two or three hours.”

The Times also reports that “Diplomatic sources said that the EU was ready to take a 'hit' on single-market customs rules on the Irish border if Britain stops abuse such as VAT fraud as part of a new Northern Ireland-only backstop.”

TBG also understands that Boris Johnson today had talks with David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament.

Sassoli told Twitter - “It was a pleasure to speak today with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.”

“He invited me to London and stressed the importance of the European Parliament in the Brexit process.”

“I reiterated that any agreement will need to be approved by both the UK and EU Parliament, so robust debate and parliamentary scrutiny is essential.”

“Our priorities remain guaranteeing citizens’ rights and protecting the peace process in Northern Ireland.”

Boris Johnson told TBG - “It’s time to get Brexit done and get on with delivering on Britain’s priorities: safer streets, better hospitals and improved schools.”