Thursday 22 August 2019

Johnson vows there will be no hard Border

 

Boris Johnson gives a television interview before a Hustings event at the Culloden House Hotel in Belfast. Photo: Charles McQuillan/PA Wire
Boris Johnson gives a television interview before a Hustings event at the Culloden House Hotel in Belfast. Photo: Charles McQuillan/PA Wire

Peter Foster

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt yesterday declared the Brexit backstop must be changed for fear that it could trap the UK indefinitely in the EU's customs union.

Speaking in Belfast yesterday, both candidates to replace Theresa May as UK prime minister insist only technology can avoid a hard border.

The EU is open to such "alternative arrangements" to the backstop, but only if they maintain the integrity of the EU single market and fulfil the British government's solemn commitment to avoid a "hard border" and "any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls".

Mr Johnson stated the Withdrawal Agreement was dead "as it stands" and promised there "will be no physical checks or infrastructure at the border in Northern Ireland".

He did not promise the absence of "checks or infrastructure", only that they would not be "at" the Border.

A report last week proposing "alternative arrangements" for the border was co-authored by Shanker Singham, a pro-Brexit trade specialist who is likely to feature in Mr Johnson's team of top advisers.

It proposes measures such as digital customs forms, geo-tracking vehicles and mobile veterinary inspections that will require checks and controls away from the Border. The EU is sceptical.

Irish Independent

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