Less than two weeks after announcing a much derided compromise plan to solve the United Kingdom’s failed Brexit negotiations with the European Union, the UK premier, Theresa May, has surrendered to europhobic members of her own party – allied to MPs from the hibernophobic Democratic Unionist Party – and accepted uncompromising additions to new legislation which will all but guarantee the imposition of “hard border” around the British legacy colony in the north-east of Ireland. According to the Guardian newspaper, the crisis-ridden Conservative Party leader,
…caved in to hardline Brexiters and accepted all four of their amendments to the customs bill, rather than allowing Jacob Rees-Mogg and colleagues to stage a show of parliamentary strength.
That legislation has been passed by the House of Commons in a move described as “…the stuff of complete madness” by the Tory lawmaker and former minister Anna Soubry. One of the amendments to the proposed Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill includes this blunt rejection of a deal already entered into by London with Brussels; and by extension, with Dublin.
It shall be unlawful for HMG to enter into arrangements under which Northern Ireland forms part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain.
In other words, the so-called “backstop agreement” signed up to by the UK and EU, which will guarantee an open frontier around the British-administered Six Counties through regulatory alignment, is no longer valid. A sop to the DUP which is seeking to return the disputed region to the militarised partition of old, while pretending otherwise to those journalists and commentators foolish enough to listen to their empty platitudes.
Meanwhile, the Irish and European Union citizenship of men, women and children in the north-east of the country is under threat, as reported by The Detail:
Northern Ireland residents risk losing citizenship rights linked to the Good Friday Agreement due to new policies being drafted for Brexit, legal experts have warned.
A key element of the 1998 Good Friday peace deal allowed those born in Northern Ireland to be British, Irish or both, thereby also providing the rights of citizens of the European Union (EU).
But under new Brexit proposals Northern Ireland residents with Irish citizenship (plus those who identify as British but are entitled to Irish citizenship) risk losing a range of EU rights including access to the European Health Insurance Card, access to EU student fee rates, the right to vote for MEPs, plus the right to be joined by non-EEA family members.
Opposing the imposition of a Brexit border on our island nation and maintaining the rights of its citizens – regardless of where they are born or live on the island – is the next front in the Irish liberation struggle.