Northern Ireland

Brexit: Andrea Leadsom meets business group to discuss backstop

Andrea Leadsom

The Business Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, has met business leaders in Northern Ireland to discuss possible alternatives to the Brexit backstop.

The business people form one of three 'Alternative Arrangements advisory groups' that were set up by the government in June.

They have been asked to suggest ideas which could maintain a free-flowing Irish border without the backstop.

The atmosphere at the meeting has been described as "positive".

At Thursday's meeting, the business people were asked to consider some options that have been drawn up by technical experts.

It was also attended by the Brexit Minister, James Duddridge, and Northern Ireland Office Minister Nick Hurd.

The prime minister believes that alternative arrangements for the Irish border are the key to scrapping the controversial backstop plan and unlocking a Brexit deal.

However, the UK has yet to officially present an alternative arrangements plan to the EU.

Instead, Boris Johnson has referred to a report written by the Alternative Arrangements Commission, led by Conservative MPs Greg Hands and Nicky Morgan.

It is not clear when the advisory groups will complete their work and make recommendations to the prime minister.

The groups are due to have further meetings before the end of September.

The EU has committed to considering alternative arrangements for the border, but only if a deal is passed which contains the backstop.

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