“We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly.”
With regards to the latest news about the border issue and Brexit, the UK cabinet have finally published their proposed backstop wording.
“The UK is clear that the temporary customs arrangement, should it be needed, should be time limited” and this time-limit has been issued as December 2021. The UK will discuss this matter with the EU.
The announcement came just two hours after Leo Varadkar said that a time-limited arrangement would be unacceptable to Ireland.
Following on from this, BuzzFeed have obtained an audio recording of a closed-door gathering at the Institute of Directors in London, where Boris Johnson – the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – spoke candidly about British foreign policy.
As you may know, the position that the Irish government has adopted regarding Brexit and the border has been extremely clear.
Only a few weeks ago on The Andrew Marr Show, Simon Coveney, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, said that he expected Prime Minister Theresa May to agree upon a solution that would permit regulatory alignment as she promised both in December and March.
“Let’s not forget what’s being agreed in these negotiations to date, because last December there was a clear agreement that the British Prime Minister signed up to; that there would be no border infrastructure of any kind on the island of Ireland and no releated checks or controls.”
During a recent talk in Belgium, Leo Varadkar also reiterated that: “It is essential that we see real and solid progress by June if the negotiations are to move forward. And without a solution to the Irish border there can be no withdrawal agreement. Let there be no doubt about that.”
Since the outset of talks, the Irish government has committed itself to ensuring that any deal would preclude the establishment of a hard border and protect the Good Friday Agreement. That has been made abundantly clear again, and again, and again.
With regards to the leaked audio of Johnson, he has ridiculed the concerns about disruption at the borders as “pure millennium bug stuff.”
He also said that it’s “beyond belief” that the Northern Ireland border has become an obstacle in the Brexit negotiations and that any debate about solutions to the border have been blown completely out of proportion.
“It’s so small and there are so few firms that actually use that border regularly, it’s just beyond belief that we’re allowing the tail to wag the dog in this way. We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly,” he said.
You can read Johnson’s whole statement about Brexit, Trump, Putin and more here.