Brexit: Where might room for backstop compromise lie?

Boris Johnson Image copyright PA
Image caption Boris Johnson said a no-deal Brexit would be a "failure" by both the British and Irish governments

When Boris Johnson headed to Dublin on Monday there were no obvious signs of common ground between the British and Irish governments over alternatives to the border backstop.

But many expected the prime minister to repeat his "germ of an idea" for a common food and agriculture zone across Ireland.

He said he had an "abundance of proposals" to replace the backstop, though didn't share any of them with reporters.

Neither he nor Leo Varadkar gave much away in the press conference before they sat down over breakfast.

But behind the scenes, the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) likely in turn pointed out the practical and political obstacles for the EU.

Read full article Brexit: Where might room for backstop compromise lie?

Brexit: Dublin scepticism over replacement for backstop

Boris Johnson
Image caption The prime minister is due to attend talks with Leo Varadkar in Dublin on Monday

Boris Johnson is due in Dublin for talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Monday.

Ahead of that, Mr Varadkar's deputy Simon Coveney gave Downing Street a preview of what the prime minister is likely to hear when Mr Johnson sketches out his ideas for replacing what he derides as the "anti-democratic" Brexit backstop.

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Brexit: No imminent breakthrough in border backstop stand-off

Boris Johnston Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The prime minister has shown a willingness to tackle the assertion from Dublin and Brussels that their approach is simply intended to protect the status quo and the Good Friday Agreement

Boris Johnson's letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk doesn't point the way towards any imminent breakthrough in the stand-off over the Brexit border backstop and the ill-fated EU-UK withdrawal agreement.

However, one interesting aspect of the letter is the PM's willingness to tackle head on the assertion from Dublin and Brussels that their approach is simply intended to protect the status quo and the Good Friday Agreement.

Read full article Brexit: No imminent breakthrough in border backstop stand-off

Border poll not priority for Leo Varadkar post-Brexit

Leo Varadkar and Mary-Lou McDonald Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Leo Varadkar and Mary-Lou McDonald took part in a leaders debate at a west Belfast festival

Although she suggested something to the contrary in an interview a year ago, in recent months Mary Lou McDonald has been consistent that a no-deal Brexit should trigger a border poll.

It's no surprise the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) disagrees.

Read full article Border poll not priority for Leo Varadkar post-Brexit

Conservative leadership contest: NI Tories' fear of betrayal

lEADERSHIP CONTEST
Image caption Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson faced NI Conservatives in the north Down's Culloden Hotel on Tuesday

Fear of betrayal is a common theme in the history of Northern Ireland politics.

Traditionally it is associated with unionists concerned that Westminster might be about to sell them out in order to do a deal with Dublin.

Read full article Conservative leadership contest: NI Tories' fear of betrayal

Northern Ireland's historic Euro election

Women at the count Image copyright PA
Image caption Out for the count. Northern Ireland used a different voting system from the rest of the UK

Given the arguments over the Brexit backstop revolve around treating Northern Ireland in exactly the same way as the rest of the UK, it's worth pointing out that we just elected our three MEPs using a completely different system from England, Scotland and Wales.

Voters in Great Britain marked their chosen party with an X, whilst in Northern Ireland you indicated your preferences with a "1, 2, 3" - and so on.

Read full article Northern Ireland's historic Euro election

Brush with May signposted Brexit maze

Theresa May has announced she will resign on 7 June Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Theresa May has announced she will resign on 7 June

In June 2016, I was despatched to a hairbrush factory in Bangor, County Down, to interview a VIP who had just flown across from London to back the Remain campaign.

It turned out to be the then Home Secretary, Theresa May.

Read full article Brush with May signposted Brexit maze

European Election 2019: Brexit dominates NI TV debate

Spotlight election debate

Six candidates in this week's European parliamentary election in Northern Ireland have clashed over Brexit, the Irish border backstop and whether there should be another referendum.

They were appearing on a special BBC Spotlight debate on Tuesday night.

Read full article European Election 2019: Brexit dominates NI TV debate

Success of the 'Others' remains election talking point

Aine Groogan Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The Green Party's Aine Groogan topped the poll in Botanic DEA

With the Northern Ireland council results done and dusted, the rise of the "others" remains the big talking point.

At the Stormont Assembly, the "others" are the parties who decline to sign in as either unionists or nationalists, writing in another description of their choice.

Read full article Success of the 'Others' remains election talking point

Alliance surge in NI council elections a striking development

Alliance's Ross McMullan (centre) celebrates his election Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Alliance's Ross McMullan (centre) got almost 1,000 votes over the quota when he was elected to Belfast City Council

PR elections in Northern Ireland are always more of a marathon than a sprint, so it's wise not to overanalyse the results at the halfway mark.

The protracted drama of single transferable voting means that both candidates and parties who looked like hares early on turn into tortoises as the white tape approaches.

Read full article Alliance surge in NI council elections a striking development