Brexit: Davis considers joint European Union and United Kingdom status for Northern Ireland

Theresa May

Indeed, this scheme raises more questions than answers and the fact that it is even being put forward for consideration at this stage of negotiations is a sign of desperation on the part of the Brexit secretary and the British government. "We are waiting for the British to have clear positions and choices".

It may also be an indication of the pressure being applied to Theresa May by leading Brexiteers, who are determined to leave the European Union at all costs and have shown little real interest in the consequences for people living on this island. While both sides say they are committed to keeping the border open, finding a practical solution is still proving elusive.

"But it doesn't matter what we call it as long as it works, and we think it will".

"Work is ongoing on customs plans that will achieve this, as well as ensuring we can strike trade deals around the world, that trade remains as frictionless as possible, and that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland".

"Once again this shows the lack of knowledge of border areas and the concerns they face - David Davis obviously didn't learn much on his flying visits".

"None of these proposals have been discussed with the DUP and at first examination they appear to be at best contradictory".

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Mr Wilson said the goal of any border buffer zone is far from clear, and added: "Whilst the idea seems to be that movement can take place within the buffer zone, what happens to trade from outside the buffer zone when it crosses into that zone?"

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"Secondly, who will make the judgement as to which regulations should apply?" But he added that the proposal was only one of many that the United Kingdom government was considering.

It would come into effect if a more elegant solution that avoids a hard border and allows the Britain to leave the customs union isn't agreed, although unionists rejected the plan, suggesting it would cut the North off from the rest of the UK. Do checks have to be carried out there?

McGrane said his organisation was "aghast" that with time running out before Britain leaves the European Union next year, the government has still not set out clearly how it can avoid imposing a land border on the island of Ireland.

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