Will Boris Johnson's Irish Border Plan Work? Journalist Who Revealed It On Where It Fails

2 October 2019, 13:10 | Updated: 2 October 2019, 13:21

The man who revealed a leaked copy of Boris Johnson's plan for the Irish border told James O'Brien where he thinks the Prime Minister's proposal will fall apart.

The Daily Telegraph's Europe Editor Peter Foster said that what Boris Johnson is asking for has already been rejected in the past by the European Union.

Mr Johnson and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker are to speak this afternoon to discuss the UK's latest proposals for altering the backstop in the Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister says the government will put reasonable and constructive proposals that will not see checks or customs posts at or near the Northern Ireland border.

Speaking to James O'Brien, he explained what he thinks will happen next.

James O'Brien spoke to Peter Foster, who revealed the Irish border plan
James O'Brien spoke to Peter Foster, who revealed the Irish border plan. Picture: PA / LBC

He said: "We find ourselves 'trapped' as they would see it in the European Union with this border problem.

"Theresa May's answer was 'Let's all stay in the customs union until we work it out'. But the Brexiters won't have that.

"So their answer which they put forward today is 'Well, let's do a bit of both. Let's have Northern Ireland in the Single Market for regulations, but not for customs and we use some technology to smooth over the difference.

"Unfortunately the European Union and the Irish government will, I think, say that is not going to fly."

James asked if that technology actually exists and Mr Foster responded: "Technology exists in lots of ways to make borders faster and more simple. You can have big scanners, you can fill out your paperwork in advance.

"But look at the Norway-Sweden border. Norway is in the Single Market, it's highly-aligned with the European Union. But you go to that border and there's a socking great customs park there where lorries queue up to check that they've not got Chinese garlic in the back instead of regulation Spanish garlic for example.

"Technology can make things smoother, but it can't make borders disappear.

"And in the Northern Ireland context, the border isn't about posts and the reflex from the Troubles, it's about cost and friction.

"If you're a business on one side of the border, you need time and money to have people to fill out all the customs forms. If you've got 10 lorries in your fleet and each lorry spends 10-20 minutes getting checks, then you need 12 lorries to move the same amount of stuff across the border."