LONDON — As the U.K. heads toward separation with the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is promising to avoid checks at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
It’s been the one of the biggest sticking points with Brexit, since Northern Ireland is part of the U.K. and the current open border with the Republic of Ireland was a critical part of the peace deal implemented after decades of strife on the island.
After Brexit, it would be the only land border between the U.K. and E.U., creating problems for trade and customs between the two without checkpoints somewhere.
Johnson, speaking to his Conservative Party Wednesday said Brexit needs to go ahead and get done. He’s expected to bring a new proposal for a deal on Brexit to the floor of the House of Commons in Parliament today.
It suggests leaving Northern Ireland under EU market regulation for the time being. It also focuses on keeping the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open under this arrangement.
The proposal doesn’t put a time limit on that status, though it would have to be renewed every four years by the Northern Ireland Assembly. There would still need to be customs checks, but Johnson suggested they could be carried out away from the border at “other points on the supply chain.”
Irish Republic leadership has expressed doubt about the proposal.
Johnson insists Britain will leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.
24/7 Metrosource and the Associated Press contributed to this article
(PHOTO: NurPhoto/Getty Images)
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