Boris Johnson claims Northern Ireland is being used to 'frustrate Brexit'
The dispute over the Northern Ireland border is being used to "try to frustrate Brexit", Boris Johnson claimed today.
The Foreign Secretary is under the spotlight after a leaked letter revealed he has raised the prospect of a hard border on the island of Ireland – something that has repeatedly been ruled out by ministers.
He also came in for ridicule yesterday after comparing the frontier to the border between the London boroughs of Camden and Westminster.
Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Johnson claimed the issue was being raised in an effort to derail the Government’s plans to leave the customs union.
"I think the particular problems around the Irish border are being used to drive the whole Brexit argument and effectively to try to frustrate Brexit", he told reporters.
“What is going on at the moment is that the issue of the Northern Irish border is being used quite a lot politically to try and keep the UK in the customs union – effectively the single market – so we cannot really leave the EU, that is what is going on,"
The Government has committed to pulling out of the EU’s custom and come up with a “regulatory alignment” that allows goods to continue to flow freely between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
However the FT has revealed that the EU's draft withdrawal includes maintaining a "common regulatory area" between the North and the Republic of Ireland, including the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
That move would be fiercely opposed by unionist politicians including the DUP, who Theresa May is reliant on to prop her embattled government.
Elsewhere former Brexit minister David Jones accused the EU of trying to "annex" Northern Ireland with its proposals.