It’s the Irish backstop - not my Brexit plans - risking peace in Northern Ireland, claims PM

PUBLISHED: 17:25 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:42 03 September 2019

Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA Wire.

Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA Wire.

Boris Johnson has claimed that it is the Irish backstop that is risking peace in Northern Ireland rather than his plans for a no-deal Brexit.

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Boris Johnson has claimed that it is the Irish backstop that is risking peace in Northern Ireland rather than his plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Answering a question from independent MP Lady Hermon, the prime minister said that it was not his plans that was in contravention of the Belfast agreement

To cries of "rubbish" from MPs, he said: "Actually it is the backstop and the Withdrawal Agreement that undermines the balance of the Good Friday Agreement.

"Because after all, in important matters, it gives a greater preponderance to the voice of Dublin in the affairs of Northern Ireland than it does the UK.

"That is simple fact and I don't think it is widely enough understood.

"So that is one of the reasons why the Withdrawal Agreement itself is in conflict with the Good Friday Agreement."

Lady Hermon accused Boris Johnson of treating the "Good Friday Agreement with such a careless and cavalier manner".

She said: "That agreement has kept peace and stability in Northern Ireland since it was signed 21 years ago.

She asked Johnson about reports that the crime solictor's office in Belfast had advised the government "that a no-deal Brexit would be in contravention of the Good Friday Agreement" and called for the government to publish in full any legal advice he had received on this.

But Johnson said he had "not seen" any such advice, so would not be publishing it.

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