01:25 GMT +316 October 2018
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    Brexit

    Campaigner: 'EU Should Pull Their Nose Out of Business of Two Sovereign Nations'

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    Senior diplomats involved in the Brexit negotiations have reacted furiously to the details of a fresh UK proposal for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, briefed to the Irish PM, Leo Varadkar, at last week's Salzburg summit. Sputnik spoke to political campaigner, John Whitby about the latest developments in Brexit negotiations.

    EU diplomats have accused Theresa May of trying to delay resolution of the Irish border problem until after Brexit day by insisting upon Stormont having a final veto before any backstop solution can come into force.

    Under the solution, May will agree to Northern Ireland potentially staying, in effect, in the single market, as the rest of the UK exits after the transition period, should there be no other way to avoid a hard border at the time.

    Sputnik: What do you make of the government stance and Mrs May speech at the end of last week?

    John Whitby: I listened to Theresa May's speech, and it's a [typical Theresa May speech, the content aimed at an audience, but we've all heard other speeches by Theresa May and she speaks very well, the problem is delivery, because she's yet never delivered on any speech she's given.

    Sputnik: Would you agree with Labour on a 2nd referendum on the terms of Brexit?

    John Whitby: Well they haven't decided yet what the referendum would be on if they held one; they would only hold it if there wasn't a general election as they hope to get into power, but we don't know what their real view is on the situation. Let's be clear, we've had two referendums on the EU, we had one in 1975 which my parents voted in, where we voted to stay because we were never asked about joining the European Economic Community in 1973. 40 years later we then had a vote on remaining or leaving the European Union. It was made clear by everybody involved that if we had the temerity to leave the European Union we couldn't cherry-pick, we would leave everything. That was used as a promise by the Leave campaign and as a threat by the Remain side, the EU and everyone else, that if you vote to leave, we would be leaving the single market, the Customs union and everything else. We've been given that option and we voted to leave.

    Sputnik: Do you see a solution to the Irish border issue on WTO terms?

    John Whitby: The Irish border is not a problem, nobody wants a hard border […], we've got the technology there where you can pre-clear through customs and if you want to do it, it can be done quite easily. The problem is the EU don't want to do it and they should be told to pull their nose out of the business of two sovereign nations — [Ireland] and the UK — and we will deal with that problem ourselves. We could do it very simply, the customs people have said it can be done simply but that message doesn't get listened to because it's the wrong one.

    1)      The views and opinions expressed in this article by John Whitby are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik’s position.

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