Brexiteer swears after learning levels of red tape to be imposed on Britain after Brexit
- Credit: Parliamentlive.tv
A Brexiteer MP has issued expletives to convey his amazement at the number of customs declarations expected between Great Britain and Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Northern Ireland committee member Bob Stewart was shocked to find out that the HMRC are expecting traders on both sides of the Irish Sea to lodge 11 million customs declarations after December 31.
Businesses on both sides will have to complete new declarations on goods going to and from Great Britain and Northern Ireland from January 1 as part of a new post-Brexit customs regulations.
The government has sought to overcome this dilemma by introducing a clause in the internal market bill that would allow them to remove border posts in the Irish Sea.
Critics of the bill say it would override clauses in the Withdrawal Agreement signed earlier this year and would break international law.
Stewart, who openly supports Brexit, quizzed experts on the impact of new border procedures during a Commons select committee on Northern Ireland.
He asked a HMRC official how many customs declarations he expected to surface after Brexit.
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The official replied: "Firstly, I'm going to preface what I'm going to say by saying that it is highly uncertain. The reason it is so uncertain is because of the GB-NI route is not one we've had reason to collect data previously.
"So, the numbers of traders who would be moving goods that will be subject to the Northern Ireland protocol is an uncertain number at the moment but we do have some working assumptions for our planning and our estimates are around 11 million declarations from GB to NI."
"Bloody hell!" exclaimed Stewart, cutting off the official mid-speech.
"Blimey! That's one heck of a lot! Well, that's far more than I thought, actually."
This comment comes after a survey of Irish businesses showed nearly 45% were not ready for Brexit.
It also comes off the back of a particularly bruising letter Michael Gove received from a major transport boss warning hauliers were seriously unprepared for the December 31 deadline.
The chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), Richard Burnett, said the government's handling of Brexit border processes had been a "complete shambles" and that lorry drivers were still waiting on the government to provide important software needed to continue trading in Europe after January 1.
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