My right hon. Friend has been championing this approach for a long time. I am grateful to him and to other Conservative colleagues for their detailed discussions with my right hon. Friend the Brexit Secretary and others about the alternative arrangements to ensure the absence of a hard border in Northern Ireland. Let us not forget that the term “alternative arrangements” features in both the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration, so it is already a known concept in the documents that have previously been agreed.
This has led to the consideration of a joint work stream with the European Union that will take place during the next phase of our negotiations. Our objective is to ensure that we have a set of alternative arrangements that can be used even in the absence of a full future relationship deal at the end of the implementation period. The EU has agreed to prioritise what will be an important work stream in the next phase, but we will also be setting up domestic structures to take advice from external experts, from businesses that trade with the European Union and beyond, and from colleagues across the House. This will be supported by civil service resources and £20 million of Government funding.