Brexit Border in Irish Sea `Absolute Deal Breaker,' Grieve Says

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(Bloomberg) -- Northern Ireland won’t be split from the rest of the United Kingdom after Brexit, Dominic Grieve, the Conservative former attorney general, said.

The idea of placing a border in the Irish Sea is an “absolute deal breaker,” Grieve said at the Institute of International and European Affairs event in Dublin Monday.

At present, the only plan on the table for keeping the Irish border invisible after Brexit is the EU’s “backstop” option, which would effectively keep Northern Ireland in the bloc’s customs union and parts of the single market if needed. That amounts to erecting a border between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, which the U.K. considers unacceptable.

The U.K. has indicated during talks that the bloc’s “backstop” option that keeps Northern Ireland in a “common regulatory area” with the EU should apply to the whole of the U.K., according to three people familiar with the EU side of the negotiations. It would mean the whole U.K. stays in parts of the single market and customs union as a last resort.

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