The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs warned on July 17 that there can be no Brexit Withdrawal Agreement without a backstop.

Commenting on the July 16 vote in the House of Commons, a spokesperson for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said: “It is fully accepted and understood that there can be no Withdrawal Agreement without a legally operable backstop ensuring that there will be no hard border”.

The vote effectively rendered the EU’s version of the backstop unlawful.

As reported by the BBC, the European Union’s proposal would have kept Northern Ireland in the customs union and the single market for goods. But an amendment to the Customs Bill would make it illegal for Northern Ireland to be outside the UK’s customs territory.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said it had been the UK government’s position that customs checks between Northern Ireland the rest of the UK are unacceptable, so it was not surprising that the amendment to the Customs Bill was accepted.

It said the UK has also “repeatedly committed to avoiding a hard border [on] the island of Ireland, most recently in last week’s White Paper”.

“In fact, the Withdrawal Act, passed last month, legally binds the UK government to this commitment,” it added.

In terms of avoiding a hard border, the Irish government is calling for the closes possible future EU-UK relationship, reported the BBC.

“It is not for the Irish government to comment on the internal politics and legislative processes of the UK… what matters is that the British government is able to engage in serious negotiations with the commission.”

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.