Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson promises to release 'hard' Northern Ireland border letter

Boris Johnson has defended a letter he wrote warning of a harder border on the island of Ireland after Brexit as "very positive", pledging to publish it himself.
The Foreign Secretary claimed the issue was "being used politically" to keep the UK in the customs union and single market after it leaves the EU.

He initially refused to answer questions about the letter, obtained by Sky News, outside his ministerial residence as he left for a run on Wednesday morning.

The letter, obtained by Sky News, sent by Boris Johnson to the Prime Minister

But on his return Mr Johnson told Sky News: "What the letter says is that actually there are very good solutions that would obviate, prevent any kind of hard border.

"We can do this. We can come out of the customs union whilst solving the Northern Ireland border problem and we mustn't allow this great inverted pyramid of objections to be built over this fundamental problem, which I think is eminently solvable."

He added: "I think that the particular problems around the Irish border are being used politically to drive the whole Brexit argument and effectively to try to frustrate Brexit. I think there are better ways forward."

He then promised: "I'll put it online myself, how about that? I don't have it now - but we'll certainly do that."

Ireland's foreign minister says the British people deserve honesty about Brexit

The letter, which was sent from Mr Johnson to Theresa May, admitted the Government's main challenge was to "stop this border becoming significantly harder".
In it, he tried to play down the "exaggerated impression" of "how important checks are" at EU external borders.

"Even if a hard border is reintroduced, we would expect to see 95% + of goods pass the border [without] checks," he added.

In February 2016, ahead of the EU referendum, Mr Johnson promised the Irish border would be "absolutely unchanged".

SKY         News.