Tuesday 17 September 2019

Boris Johnson trying to revoke promise of no border after Brexit

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Victoria Jones/PA Wire
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Shona Murray

Boris Johnson is trying to renege on a British promise to ensure the Irish border with the North remains seamless.

In a letter written to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the British Foreign Secretary says "it is wrong to see the task as maintaining 'no border'" on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

He also said the Government's priority should instead be to "stop this border becoming significantly harder".

The letter was leaked on the eve of the publication of the legal draft text of the EU – UK Withdrawal Agreement – in which the deal completed the two parties in protecting the Irish border is contained.

The text of the piece on Ireland, deals with the “backstop option” which commits Northern Ireland to remaining in the EU’s customs union in order to prevent a hard physical border from re-emerging.

Mr Johnson goes as far as taking for granted that a hard border is now a serious possibility, saying: "Even if a hard border is reintroduced, we would expect to see 95pc + of goods pass the border [without] checks."

The major leak from the Cabinet's Brexit deliberations on the highly contentious Irish border is included in a letter passed to Sky News.

The letter from the Foreign Secretary, entitled "The Northern Ireland/Ireland border - the Facilitated Solution", is part of a "concept note" that "draws on Foreign Office expertise".

It also accompanies a note which appears to distance Mr Johnson's position from official British intent on the matter, saying "It is an FCO concept note based on discussion with other departments but is not agreed technical advice"

Online Editors

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