Jeremy Corbyn has provided journalists with a document marked ‘official, sensitive’, which he claims provides the ‘cold hard evidence’ that Boris Johnson had been misleading people about his Brexit deal.
Brandishing a document, titled Northern Ireland Protocol: Unfettered Access to the UK Internal Market, at a press conference in central London, the Labour leader said it was proof there would be customs checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland after Brexit.
“What we have here is a confidential report by Johnson’s own government, marked official, sensitive, that exposes the falsehoods that Boris Johnson has been putting forward,” he said.
“This is cold hard evidence that categorically shows the impact a damaging Brexit deal would have on large parts of our country.”
Corbyn claimed the document “drives a coach and horses through the prime minister’s claim that there will be, in his words, no border in the Irish Sea”.
“It’s simply not true,” the Labour leader said.
“Johnson’s deal will be disastrous for businesses and jobs all across the UK, and the government’s confidential report confirms this.”
He said the document painted a “damning picture” of the prime minister’s deal, especially when it came to Northern Ireland.
“We have now caught Johnson red-handed misrepresenting his own Brexit deal,” he told journalists.
Johnson had said there would be no checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain under his exit terms, but Corbyn said the document suggested that was not true.
The Labour leader said page five of the document stated: “There will be customs declarations and security checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”
“It is there in black and white. It says there will be customs declarations, absolutely clearly, for trade going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.
“The government cannot rule out regulatory checks, rules of origin checks and animal and public health checks also.
“For trade going the other way, from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, there will be all of the above plus potentially damaging tariffs.”
Corbyn said the report stated Johnson’s deal will be “highly disruptive to the Northern Irish economy”.
“It says this deal will be the equivalent of imposing tariffs on 30% of all purchases made in Northern Ireland,” he said.
The Labour leader also said the report warns of the potential for fraud, saying Northern Ireland could become a “backdoor into the GB market for the avoidance of import duties”.