Sinn Féin MP: Johnson's Irish Border Approach Is Entirely Unacceptable

1 October 2019, 15:07 | Updated: 1 October 2019, 15:14

People must not lose sight of the fact Boris Johnson himself voted for no hard border as foreign secretary, Sinn Fein MP told LBC, calling the PM's border comments "entirely unacceptable."

"There has never been a democratic mandate on the island of Ireland for partition or border," Chris Hazzard said, "that is something that was always imposed by the British government on the people of Ireland."

He continued that Brexit is another example of there being no widespread democratic support for an Irish border, just "attempts from a British government to enforce a solution."

"I think Boris Johnson's comments today have been entirely disingenuous. He knows that some of the explanations and clarifications he's tried to make today are absolutely not acceptable, either to the people of Ireland, the Irish government, or the EU because they simply amount to a reimposition of a hard border."

Shelagh mentioned Steve Baker MP and member of European Research Group who said 'there is an inescapable fact that there will need to be some additional checks after Brexit. People need to face up to the true reality.'

Sinn Féin MP: Johnson's Irish Border Approach Is Entirely Unacceptable
Sinn Féin MP: Johnson's Irish Border Approach Is Entirely Unacceptable. Picture: PA

She asked Chris Hazzard: "Are you not facing up to what he calls the true reality?"

"I think you need to reflect on the fact Boris Johnson himself was part of the government as Foreign Secretary that signed up to a joint declaration with the European Union that there would be no hardening of the border, that there would be no additional checks.

So they can't have their cake and eat it. There was a commitment made by the British government on that basis. People must not lose sight of the fact Boris Johnson himself in a rare moment of lucidity voted for the backstop.

He understood that when the crunch came and we were looking for a way forward out of this, there needed to be an acceptance in Downing Street and elsewhere, that the backstop was the bottom line. So I think Steve Barker should reflect on that logic.

Shelagh asked if various logistical strategies, such as checking goods before they got to the border, would be a viable option.

Chris Hazzard MP: "There&squot;s been a commitment from both sides that we would not see any hardening of the border."
Chris Hazzard MP: "There's been a commitment from both sides that we would not see any hardening of the border.". Picture: PA

"On a political basis, these sort of ideas are absolutely unacceptable. There's been a commitment from both sides that we would not see any hardening of the border."

He said that voices of the industry have been engaging with HMRC since day one and they themselves have acknowledged that none of these proposals would work.

"We currently have no regulatory checks on the island of Ireland. Backtracking on that is a breaking of commitments that we've made.

"David Davis himself actually conceded that any max-fac solution is simply not workable on the island of Ireland. You have to understand in the border communities that I represent there are literally hundreds of border crossings.

There are more border crossings on the island of Ireland than there is in the vast area of the European Union. It's simply not feasible."

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