Boris Johnson says absolutely 'no border down the Irish sea'

15 November 2019, 11:04 | Updated: 15 November 2019, 11:06

Boris Johnson has said there won't be a hard border between the UK and Ireland
Boris Johnson has said there won't be a hard border between the UK and Ireland. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Boris Johnson has said he is "one million per cent committed" to maintaining the union with Northern Ireland while dismissing claims there will be a hard border in the Irish Sea.

The Prime Minister was taking questions from the public in the run-up to the General Election. When asked a question about a possible border in Ireland he said: "I believe in it passionately and there will be no border down the Irish sea.

"The whole point of our deal was to allow the whole UK to come out of the EU, whole and entire, but what the EU wanted was to offer a northern Ireland only backstop as they refer to it which would have kept Northern Ireland in the customs union, in the single market, forever."

When asked if there would be a customs border down the Irish sea, the PM replied: "Absolutely not, if you read the agreement it says explicitly Northern Ireland is part of the UK customs territory."

On the subject of his Brexit deal, Mr Johnson told viewers: "We have a great deal to come out of the EU, people said I couldn't do it, they said it was impossible, and we did it within the three months that we had.

"What it means is you take back control as a country, of your money, your borders, your laws, you can do free trade deals, and, most importantly, the whole of the UK comes out.

"England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, come out together.

"The great thing is that business has the certainty, to get to your point about the transition period, business has the certainty until the end of 2020 that the same arrangements will continue to apply and will continue to have zero tariffs, zero quota freedoms, with our European friends and partners.

"But there's absolutely no reason why between January and the end of next year we shouldn't complete that free trade deal and have a wonderful new partnership with the EU based on zero tariffs, zero quotas, and getting on to develop all the other ways which we want to be a pro-European country."

The Donegal town of Muff in the Republic of Ireland within yards of the UK border
The Donegal town of Muff in the Republic of Ireland within yards of the UK border. Picture: PA

The EU and UK both want to maintain the free flow of goods without border checks because of fears of a return to The Troubles, and Cabinet ministers have agreed the UK's position is that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

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