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Lords EU Committee to take evidence on Irish backstop

The House of Lords EU Committee will tomorrow take evidence from experts about the implications both for Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole of the Irish backstop, and the Prime Minister's attempts to identify alternative approaches to address concerns about the Irish border and Brexit.

The evidence session will start at 4pm on Tuesday 12 February in Committee Room 4A of the House of Lords.  Giving evidence to the Committee will be:

  • Dr Katy Hayward, Reader in Sociology, Queen's University Belfast
  • David Henig, Director, UK Trade Policy Project
  • Marie Demetriou QC, Barrister, Brick Court Chambers
  • Victoria Hewson, Senior Counsel, Institute of Economic Affairs

Areas the Committee will cover with the witnesses include:

  • Their assessment of the Prime Minister's attempts to reopen negotiations on the backstop.
  • Whether the UK would be at risk of becoming indefinitely ‘trapped' in the backstop arrangements against its will. 
  • The impact of the backstop on the free movement of people, goods and services on the island of Ireland, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and between Northern Ireland and the rest of the EU. 
  • The compatibility of the ‘backstop' with the Good Friday Agreement. 
  • To what extent would the UK's ability to strike its own trade deals be limited under the ‘backstop'? What can be learned from the experience of the Turkey-EU Customs Union? 
  • Is the ‘backstop' a good deal for the UK? To what extent is Michael Gove right that it would enable the UK to cherry-pick the benefits of single market access without some of the obligations of freedom of movement and payment into the EU budget.

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