Brexit: Dutch PM clearly explains the dire consequences of a hard border between the UK and Ireland

With Theresa May facing another crucial series of votes in parliament, which could alter the course of Brexit, any scenario for exiting the EU remains in play.

With fewer than 60 days before the Article 50 deadline is reached, May is still seeking concessions on the controversial Irish backstop, which has been one of the most contentious issues in the entire Brexit negotiation.

A no-deal would almost certainly reinstate a hard border in Ireland and many MPs would wish to avoid that type of chaos it could create.

Recently the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, was asked by reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, if the EU would offer any concessions on the backstop to avoid a no-deal.

He quickly shot back and informed the reporter that the backstop wasn't the EU's idea and that the current deal, which has already been rejected by parliament, is the only deal that stands.

The backstop was not our idea. We both agreed, UK and European Union, we don't want a hard border in Ireland. That was a joint position.

Then the UK government said three additional things: no hard border in the Irish sea, no membership of the customs union, and no free movement of people.

Given that whole set of circumstances, the present deal is the only deal on the table.

He is then quizzed again about concessions, which he bluntly replies to and outlines that a return to the Troubles would be a devastating scenario.

But how can you do that? Because if you say it was 'time-limited' or that the UK could unilaterally stop it, it means a hard border and the UK doesn't want that because you and I, you and we, all of us don't want to go back to the Troubles.

The reporter then points out that if the EU didn't offer any concessions it would result in a no-deal and if the EU is prepared for that result.

If you were to offer a concession here it would move against the UK because you don't want a hard border in Ireland so how can we square the circle?

No, I don't want it [no-deal] and I have full confidence in Theresa May and her government, it's a difficult situation, that she will find a way out.

What would then happen when the backstop is gone? A hard border. And what does a hard border mean? End of the Good Friday Agreement and potentially back to the Troubles.

A clip of the exchange has already been viewed more than 300,000 times on Twitter and people are complimenting Rutte for his clear and honest words.

HT Joe

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