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How likely is a renegotiation of the Northern Ireland backstop?

Candidates for the Conservative leadership insist they can deliver changes but legal experts are less convinced

By Alex Dean  

Photo: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

The future of Brexit is turning on the Northern Ireland backstop. It has become the most intractable problem in Britain’s departure from Europe. The backstop sunk Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement—and with it, her premiership. If they’re not careful, it could sink whoever comes next. While it remains in the Brexit deal, parliament could simply refuse to give its assent.

For their part, the EU and the Irish government insist the backstop must remain. Yet Conservative leadership candidates breezily claim that they could strip it out. Boris Johnson, the frontrunner, has…

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