Boris Johnson prevented from issuing full memo on Northern Irish border

Posted On: 
3rd March 2018

Boris Johnson was prevented from publishing the full details of his memo to Sir Jeremy Heywood on customs arrangements with Ireland, after it was leaked to the press on Tuesday.

Boris Johnson was prevented from publishing the full details of his memo on the Irish border.

The Foreign Secretary was believed to have felt “traduced” when sections of a detailed memo he had prepared for the Cabinet Secretary appeared in the press on Tuesday evening, the Times has learned.

Some press coverage had suggested the realties of a hard border would return to Northern Ireland, including customs checks and border infrastructure.

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Mr Johnson maintained in the memo it was “wrong to see the Government’s task as maintaining no border” when it was ministers’ job to “stop this border becoming significantly harder”.

“Boris felt traduced because the front page of the document, the only one that was shown, made it look like he was advocating a hard border and he really wasn’t,” a Foreign Office source said. “He was pretty grumpy about it but had to accept the ruling.”

Downing Street was forced to clarify the comments while Mr Johnson defended himself on Wednesday, accusing some of trying to “frustrate Brexit” with the Irish border question.