Boris Johnson simply told Northern Irish Tories "what they wanted to hear", says political editor

8 November 2019, 17:55

Political editor George Parker told Eddie Mair that last night Boris Johnson simply told Northern Irish Tories "what they wanted to hear" even though it was "in direct contradiction" with his government's explicit Brexit policy.

"This is Boris Johnson talking to Conservatives in Northern Ireland - they're pretty much an endangered species, a very tiny party, a paltry group of people that are listening to him - and him just basically telling them really what they wanted to hear.

"Which is there won't be any sort of customs border between Northern Ireland and Britain, and in particular they wouldn't have to fill in forms to send stuff from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

"That is in direct contradiction to what Steve Barclay, the Brexit secretary said, to a committee of MPs on 21st October when he said they would have to fill in export declaration forms."

Parker said: "Either Boris Johnson doesn't know what his own government's policy is, or he's dissembling in some way."

Eddie asked whether there was a charitable explanation for this inconsistency.

Parker said he didn't think so as the Brexit secretary was "explicit" about filling in electronic forms; however because of NI's unusual status under Johnson's deal, the country is part of the UK customs territory but part of the EU customs code, goods leaving Northern Ireland will have to be declared.

The political editor said at the very least, it was "an odd appearance by Boris Johnson."