5 Feb 2019

May pledges to avoid hard border on island of Ireland

Theresa May has sought to reassure business leaders and politicians in Northern Ireland that there will be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland. She told an audience in Belfast that her commitment to avoiding such an arrangement was “unshakeable”.

But her ability to deliver on that commitment may hinge on a trip to Brussels. Downing Street today confirmed she will meet EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker this Thursday, when she will seek to persuade him to change the backstop arrangement.

It follows a day in which the Prime Minister faced difficult questions on the economy, as new data indicated the uncertainty over Brexit could be leading to a slowdown.