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24 November 2017 at 09:30 BST

Legal analysis says Northern Ireland can be given special status in the UK's Brexit deal

London-based lawyers Doughty Street Chambers has prepared legal opinion which highlights that Northern Ireland can be given special status in the UK post-Brexit.

Northern Ireland could have special status post-Brexit Ryan Simpson

In fact the lawyers propose three ways in which special status could be legally secured for the region as the UK continues negotiations on leaving the European Union. It said: ‘There is now an urgent need for creative but realistic thinking about how Northern Ireland could and should be protected. From a legal perspective, special status inside the EU could be delivered in various ways.’

Three proposals

Those ways are firstly, for the UK to stay in the single market and the customs union, while the rest of the UK would suspend some customs regulations but Northern Ireland would retain them. Secondly, the legal opinion suggests that Northern Ireland could stay in the single market and customs union while the rest of the UK leaves them. Thirdly, modelled on the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent reunification of Germany, the report suggests that Northern Ireland would remain in the EU pending a border poll on a united Ireland.

'Astonishing'

'It is astonishing so few proposals have been put on the table about this. A key part of our report is to look at the legal and policy vacuum here, which is concerning. The UK government has an obligation to provide clarity on its own policy,’ said Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, the report's author. The document was commissioned by a cross-party coalition of left-wing MEPs in Northern Ireland.

 
   
 
 
 

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