Wednesday 18 July 2018

Brexit: Former Cabinet minister calls for Irish border issue to be handled 'very carefully'

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Independent.ie Business Desk

Independent.ie Business Desk

Tory grandee Lord Chris Patten has called for the Irish border issue to be handled "very carefully" in Brexit negotiations as he said he did not want to see a return to violence.

The former Cabinet minister, who chaired a commission into policing in Northern Ireland as part of the peace process, said: "I really do think we have to be very careful about the way we handle this issue.

"For me it's one of the examples of the recklessness of the ideological campaign to get us out of the European Union at all costs.

"I feel emotionally very strongly about this. I think we did a really good job on the Good Friday Agreement. And I don't want to go back to the days when people were being shot and maimed."

Speaking at a pro-Europe event organised by Open Britain, former EU commissioner Lord Patten took a swipe at arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who he said he has known since he was eight, saying: "The thing about Jacob is that he is much better than he has allowed himself to seem.

"It is all very well having those views and being thought to be rather an eccentric but interesting lad when you are eight. But having the same views when you are 48 raises, I think, one or two eyebrows.

"And, I think, he has allowed himself a bit to be taken over by his own image and caricature."

Prominent pro-Europe Labour MP Chuka Umunna used the Open Britain event to attack his front bench for "parroting" the Tories on immigration, saying: "One of the things I cannot abide, and I find intensely irritating is, frankly, to hear the Labour front bench increasingly parrot what the Conservative front bench says about this issue - immigration and Brexit - and, increasingly, too many other issues.

"You need only look at the comments of Liam Fox's shadow, Barry Gardiner, in respect of the Brexit issue, and you do wonder where is the opposition?"

Press Association

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