Latest Issue

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 said…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect