UK Prime Minister May thinking of changing Good Friday agreement to fix Brexit deadlock

The amendment would add text to ‘support or reference’ on the 1998 peace deal to set out how both sides would guarantee an open border after Brexit or have the UK and Ireland agree to a separate set of principles.

UK prime minister Theresa May Source: Bloomberg

The United Kingdom’s (UK) prime minister Theresa May is said to be looking at amending the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, an agreement which was set by the UK and Ireland that ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland to solve the issues on her Brexit divorce deal, British daily broadsheet The Daily Telegraph said late on Sunday.

The amendment would add text to ‘support or reference’ on the 1998 peace deal to set out how both sides would guarantee an open border after Brexit or have the UK and Ireland agree to a separate set of principles, the newspaper said.

Good Friday Agreement should not be renegotiated lightly

The Good Friday Agreement cannot be renegotiated lightly, said Ireland’s governing Fine Gael party member Neale Richmond who is also the chairman of the upper house of parliament's Brexit committee, as it is ‘an international peace treaty, lodged with the UN’ which has a mandate of 94% in Ireland and 71% in Northern Ireland.

It is ‘not something that can be renegotiated lightly or easily to meet Brexit whims,’ he tweeted.

British government sources are sceptical on the new plan, as it is controversial and would require the consent of all parties in Northern Ireland, The Daily Telegraph said.

Other newspapers have reported of the prime minister’s plans to create a bilateral treaty with the Irish government to find a workaround solution on the Brexit backstop arrangement. Mrs May is also said to be trying to remove the Irish backstop, in an attempt to win over the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party.

Mrs May was dealt a heavy blow in parliament on Tuesday when her Brexit deal was rejected by lawmakers and members of other parties. A major objection to the deal was on the backstop arrangement that the European Union insists on as a guarantee to prevent the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland from a hard border.

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