Johnson becomes stumped on Irish backstop question as he talks about CHEESE

Boris Johnson resorts to talking about CHEESE in answer to question on Irish backstop. Photograph: R

Boris Johnson resorts to talking about CHEESE in answer to question on Irish backstop. Photograph: RTE. - Credit: Archant

Boris Johnson left an Irish interviewer baffled as he answered a question on Ireland's concerns by talking about how much cheese the UK imports.

The former foreign secretary was asked whether he understood Ireland's concerns over Brexit and the importance of the backstop.

Initially answering 'yes' he then quickly changed his answer to 'not as currently described'.

Johnson then proceeded to waffle through an answer for a further 90 seconds which left the interviewer looking distinctly unimpressed.

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The Brexiteer initially even appeared to accept that he and his fellow Leave politicians did not have a clue about Ireland in the run-up to the election.

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He told RTÉ News: 'I think actually what was interesting about the Irish position over the years... and I pay tribute to the Irish government and Ireland the way that... you know... people in Dublin really saw the issues a long way out, much more clearly, perhaps than people in London did.

'They got to work very fast on finding technical solutions facilitations for the border issue in the run up to... actually in the run up to the referendum and the six months that followed.

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'What then happened, the UK, to be totally frank, was not totally clear what they actually wanted. In that vacuum everything went into reverse and we started to talk about staying in the customs union and the single market.'

Questioned whether he therefore felt responsible for causing the problems over Ireland, Johnson then backtracked and turned to cheese to detract from the question.

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He said: 'No, no, no, sorry, perhaps I hadn't been clear. It's right to come out, but we want to trade with Ireland and we love Ireland, and we buy 78 thousand tonnes of your cheese every year.

'And I think it's very important to understand people in the UK deeply understand the sensitivities about the border, but we are fortified by what [Taoiseach] Leo Varadkar and many others have said in not wanting a hard border.

'We don't [want] and we will not see a hard border. That would not be right.'

Johnson is just one of many Brexiteers who have showed a distinct lack of understanding about the Irish issue in recent months. Other Brexiteers included Nadine Dorries and Andrew Bridgen.

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