PM’s speech suffers from fault as she argues for new technology on the Irish border

PUBLISHED: 16:14 05 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:26 05 February 2019

May’s speech suffers from technical faults as she tries to argue for technology on Irish border. Photograph: Sky News.

May’s speech suffers from technical faults as she tries to argue for technology on Irish border. Photograph: Sky News.

Archant

Theresa May’s speech in Northern Ireland suffered from a failure in technology as she tried to argue for new technical solutions on the Irish border.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks with business representatives at Allstate in Belfast on her Brexit plans. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.Prime Minister Theresa May speaks with business representatives at Allstate in Belfast on her Brexit plans. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.

The Tories have tasked Theresa May with looking for alternative solutions to the Irish backstop, but concerns about a reliance on new technology were perfectly demonstrated by the failures in the broadcasts of her speech.

In her speech May said her commitment to avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland was “unshakeable”.

She said she wanted to “affirm my commitment to delivering a Brexit that ensures no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which is unshakeable”.

The prime minister said she was “determined” to work towards a solution to the Northern Irish border question that can command support from across the country, as she reiterated that there will be no hard border.

She said: “I know that the prospect of changing the backstop and reopening the Withdrawal Agreement creates real anxieties here in Northern Ireland and in Ireland, because it is here that the consequences of whatever is agreed will most be felt.

“I recognise too that the majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted to remain and that many will feel that once again decisions taken in Westminster are having a profound and in many cases unwanted impact in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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“So I’m determined to work towards a solution that can command broader support from across the community in Northern Ireland.”

She continued: “We stand by our commitment in the Joint Report that there will be no hard border - including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls.”

Theresa May said there was “no suggestion” that there would not be arrangements in place to prevent a hard border if there was no future relationship agreed by the end of the transition period.

After being asked about an alleged “U-turn” on the backstop, May replied: “You’ve used the term U-turn in your question: there is no suggestion that we are not going to ensure that in the future there is provision for this - it’s been called an insurance policy, the backstop - that ensures that if the future relationship is not in place by the end of the implementation period there will be arrangements in place to ensure that we deliver no hard border.”

Ahead of the speech Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar told RTE that “it is very frustrating that we are going back to this idea of technology.

“The European Commission and the taskforce already examined all of that. They looked at very external border the EU has and other borders like Norway-Sweden, America-Canada and yes there is lots of technology in use but it is a hard border.”

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