To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 18 February (HL13276), what are the "facilitative arrangements and technologies" that will form part of the "alternative arrangements to replace the backstop" in the negotiations currently being undertaken with the EU.
The UK and EU have agreed to consider a joint work stream to develop alternative arrangements, including the use of technology, to ensure the absence of a hard border, and this work will form an important strand of the next phase of negotiations. Our aim is to ensure that, even if the full future relationship is not in place by the end of the implementation period, the backstop is not needed, because we will have a set of alternative arrangements ready to go. We have secured a legally binding commitment that both sides will aim to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by December 2020 - and that they do not need to replicate the backstop in any respect.
Last week, the Government published a Written Ministerial Statement noting that joint UK-EU work on alternative arrangements will be an important strand of the next phase of negotiations. In anticipation of this, and to ensure that the UK is ready to move at pace in the next phase, the Government is putting in place the UK’s arrangements to support this work, with a team drawing in all the relevant departments including DExEU, HMT, HMRC, BEIS, DEFRA, Home Office, and the NIO. This will report directly to the UK’s negotiating team.