Boris Johnson: There will be 'minimal' controls on Irish border after Brexit

Posted On: 
9th March 2018

Boris Johnson has predicted there may need to be “minimal controls" at the Irish border after Brexit.

Boris Johnson has fired another shot in the row over the Irish border
Credit: 
PA Images

The Foreign Secretary's remarks appear to contradict Theresa May's insistence that trade between the Republic and Northern Ireland will remain "frictionless" once Britain leaves the EU.

Speaking at a private event in London last night, Mr Johnson said there would be "no need" for a hard border on the island.

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But he said it “will be possible to have very, very minimal controls at the border".

His comments come after a letter he wrote to the Prime Minister suggesting it was not Britain's responsibility to avoid a hard border in Ireland was leaked last week.

They are also a far cry from his claims earlier this month that the Irish border could be regulated remotely like the system for collecting the congestion charge in London.

Labour MP Ian Murray - speaking for the Open Britain campaign group - said: “Every time Theresa May says there will be no hard border in Ireland if we leave the European Union, Boris Johnson contradicts her and says there will be border controls.

“The truth is that a hard border would be the inevitable consequence of the British Government’s decision to take the option of Single Market and Customs Union membership off the negotiating table.

“Next to nobody voted to threaten the Good Friday Agreement but that is what the Government’s plans for a hard and destructive Brexit will do.”

'NO WTO TERRORS'

Elsewhere at last night's event, Mr Johnson said there would be a “state of grace” in Brussels red tape when Britain quits the bloc, but that the UK would be able to diverge from EU rules when it pleased.

And he said leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation terms “doesn’t hold terrors for me,” adding: "We would do very well under those circumstances as well".