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Government wants another year to ‘find alternative to Irish border backstop’

BRITAIN should be given another year to find a solution to the Irish backstop as the EU has set the government a test it “cannot meet,” Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said yesterday.

The Tory government is running out of time to provide a legally operative text by September 30.

It comes after French President Emmanuel Macron and Finnish PM Antti Rinne gave an ultimatum on Wednesday, saying PM Boris Johnson had 12 days to suggest workable proposals to the backstop.

Mr Barclay said in a speech in Madrid that the deadline for an alternative to the backstop should be extended until the end of the Brexit implementation period in December 2020.

A European Commission spokesperson confirmed yesterday that Britain sent “some documents” to Brussels ahead of a visit by Mr Barclay to meet EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier today.

But a government spokesperson confirmed that the papers were not a concrete written proposal, telling reporters: “We will table formal written solutions when we are ready, not according to an artificial deadline.”

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