Boris Johnson has set UK on a course that’s very dangerous for Ireland

Plan to diverge from EU rules is economic nonsense but do not assume it won’t happen

The Irish Government will continue to insist on the idea of regulations staying the same in the North and South as part of the backstop. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

The Irish Government will continue to insist on the idea of regulations staying the same in the North and South as part of the backstop. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

We are all caught up in the fuss about whether there is going to be a no-deal Brexit and, if so, when it might happen. And this is vital for our short-term economic prospects. But we are at risk of missing the bigger picture.The explicit policy of Britain, under Boris Johnson, is now to diverge from EU rules and regulations and the EU trading regime in the years ahead. If this happens it raises major economic and political questions for Ireland.

The backstop, if Johnson stays in power and follows this course, would end up being the reality – not just a fall-back plan if future trade talks between the EU and UK do not work out. And this is why there is such an almighty row about it now. All sides realise that the backstop, despite all the “we never want to see it used” PR spin, could be “it”.

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