No deal would be WORSE for Ireland than the UK and mean food shortages, government papers claim fuelling Brexiteer demands for May to tell Dublin to dump the backstop
- Report to ministers says Ireland would be hit more than the UK by no deal Brexit
- Brexiteers say it proves the EU could be forced to backdown over the backstop
- But Remain supporters warned against threatening Dublin over the Brexit deal
A no deal Brexit would be worse for Ireland than the UK, Government papers claim fuelling demands for Theresa May to tell Dublin to drop the border backstop.
Leaked papers suggest Ireland would face foot shortages and a 7 per cent plunge in GDP if there was a sudden no deal in March.
It compares to a 5 per cent drop in the UK – with the gap fuelled by Ireland being a more open economy than Britain.
The bleak picture has prompted Cabinet ministers and leading Brexiteers to plead with Mrs May to exploit Dublin’s position before Tuesday’s vote, The Times reported.
Remainers said it was ‘morally reprehensible’ to threaten Ireland given the bloody history of the Troubles.
A no deal Brexit would be worse for Ireland than the UK, Government papers claim fuelling demands for Theresa May to tell Dublin to drop the border backstop (file image)
The bleak picture has prompted Cabinet ministers and leading Brexiteers to plead with Mrs May (pictured in Downing Street last night) to exploit Dublin’s position before Tuesday’s vote
The Prime Minister is facing a catastrophic defeat of her deal on Tuesday night as more than 100 Tory MPs say they will not support the backstop.
The backstop effectively keeps the UK in a customs union with Europe if there is no trade deal with the EU after transition – meaning no trade deals and the imposition of EU rules in Britain.
Priti Patel, the former cabinet minister, told the Times: ‘This paper appears to show the government were well aware Ireland will face significant issues in a no-deal scenario.
‘Why hasn’t this point been pressed home during the negotiations? There is still time to go back to Brussels and get a better deal.’
Almost 80 per cent of Ireland’s exports travel through the UK before heading into Europe – meaning the UK-Ireland border is crucial.
Brexiteers insist this is why the EU could have been forced to backdown on the backstop with a tougher negotiating strategy.
But Labour’s Lisa Nandy said: ‘Threatening Ireland in this way is as morally reprehensible as it is futile.
‘Britain should be showing itself to be a dependable neighbour and friend in the future, and it is frightening that Brexiteers are even contemplating a move which could see stopping trade, including food supplies, being weaponised in this way, particularly given the uncomfortable historical echoes.’
Brexiteer Priti Patel (left) said the report should be used to pressure Ireland but Lisa Nandy (right) said it was ‘morally reprehensible’ to threaten Dublin
Irish Government sources said the deal including the backstop was between the entire EU and the UK and would not be reopened.
The source said: ‘That will not be changing, under any circumstances.’
Another Irish government source said that contingency planning for a hard Brexit had been under way for most of this year.
They said: ‘We are prepared if there is a no-deal scenario next March. We also have a commitment from the European Commission to support Ireland against the fallout from a hard Brexit.’
The Irish Government led by Leo Varadkar (right with London Mayor Sadiq Khan yesterday) said the deal would not be reopened