Caller exasperates James O'Brien by insisting the way to solve the Irish backstop's 'no border checks' issue is to have border checks
Today's James O'Brien show on LBC witnessed a very confident caller who claimed to have the solution to Irish backstop issue that has been thwarting progress in Brexit negotiations with the EU. However, things started to go downhill rather quickly when the host asked him to explain how it would work in practice.
The Prime Minister Theresa May is expected ask MPs to vote on her Brexit deal again on Tuesday and changes to the backstop will be key to winning that vote.
The EU approved withdrawal deal currently includes an agreement on the Irish border that demands no return of a "hard border" - physical checks or infrastructure - between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.
Within the agreement, the 'backstop' is a measure designed to ensure that this 'lack of 'hard border' continues after the UK leaves the EU. It only comes into effect if the deal deciding the future relationship between the UK and EU is not agreed by the end of the transition period (31 December 2020). Until the deal on the future relationship is done, the backstop would also keep the UK effectively inside the EU's customs union but with Northern Ireland also conforming to some rules of the single market. Critics say a different status for Northern Ireland could threaten the existence of the UK.
Therefore, when caller Alan suggested there was a solution to this thorny issue before March 29th, James asked how, when there is the requirement for no border checks on the Northern Irish border.
Challenged with the example of transporting chickens across a border where two different regulatory frameworks will exist either side, Alan responded by saying the authorities could do a "slowing down border where you pull over one in 100 lorries".
James went on to point out: "The whole requirement is no border checks. So you can't say I can solve the requirement of no border checks by having border checks.
Alan insisted he thought that was a great solution, so James continued: "But you've literally just said the way we would deal with the requirement that there be no border checks is by having border checks."
He later added: "I will never understand how anybody with a functioning cerebral cortex can say the way to solve the way to solve the problem of not having any border checks is to have border checks. Let alone on national radio."