Brexit

Dublin dismisses Tory leadership hopefuls' plans for the withdrawal agreement

Claims about the border and the withdrawal agreement by Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid have been rejected by Dublin

THE Republic's government has dismissed Tory leadership contender Sajid Javid's proposal that "hundreds of millions" of Euro from London would enable a technological solution to questions around a post-Brexit border.

The rebuff came as Dublin also rejected fellow Conservative leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt's claim that the EU "would be willing to negotiate" the withdrawal agreement with a new prime minister.

The British foreign secretary spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at last week's D-Day commemorations and said afterwards that Brussels "would look at any solutions" the UK puts forward to solve the border issue.

But a spokesman for foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said there was no basis to Mr Hunt's claims.

He was similarly dismissive of Mr Javid's suggestion that the UK government could fund a technological solution.

The British home secretary insisted "the solution exists, we've done the homework".

Mr Javid said "you don't need a magic solution for this" and the UK has a "moral duty" to foot the bill.

"Most people would understand you need cooperation on both sides of the border for this to happen," he said.

Mr Coveney's spokesman said the withdrawal agreement had been "negotiated and closed", adding that Jean Claude Junker, Donald Tusk, Michel Barnier, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have "repeatedly and consistently said so".

"The withdrawal agreement, which includes the backstop, is the result of long and detailed negotiations between the EU and the UK," he said.

"Without a withdrawal agreement, avoiding a hard border would be much more complex and challenging – both the EU and the UK government agree that no one has yet come up with any alternatives aimed at avoiding a hard border that are better than those set out in the withdrawal agreement."

However, the spokesman did say that if "UK red lines change" a "more ambitious future relationship document could be pursued".

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the Tory leadership candidates failed to understand the border challenge, describing the suggested solutions as ranging from the "ridiculous to the insulting".

“A number of challengers have made suggestions from bilateral negotiation with the Irish government to resequencing withdrawal discussions to remove the border," he said.

"While they may play well with the Tory base, these proposals amount to a substantive renegotiation which the EU has made clear is not up for discussion."

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