Brexit Party politician says they have a policy for Irish border - but can't announce it

PUBLISHED: 16:36 28 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 28 May 2019

The Brexit Party's Martin Daubney poses for pictures alongside supporters at Birmingham's International Convention Centre. Photograph: Matthew Cooper/PA.

The Brexit Party's Martin Daubney poses for pictures alongside supporters at Birmingham's International Convention Centre. Photograph: Matthew Cooper/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

A Brexit Party MEP has been left stumped by a presenter's simple request to explain his party's policy on the Irish border.

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Anti Brexit billboards on the northern side of the border between Newry in Northern Ireland and Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Niall CarsonAnti Brexit billboards on the northern side of the border between Newry in Northern Ireland and Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson

Martin Daubney was brought on to Stephen Nolan's BBC Radio Ulster show to outline, as a new MEP, what the Brexit Party would bring to UK politics.

As you can imagine, it did not take long for the conversation to move on to the Irish border issue.

The presenter asked a straight-forward question, but did not get a straight-forward answer.

"What is the Brexit party solution to the Irish border conundrum if you're so skilled in this Brexit scenario?" asked Nolan.

"Well we've been clear from the start, nobody wants a hard border, nobody in the British government wants a hard border," replied Martin Daubney buying for time.

"What's your solution?" asked Nolan again.

"Nobody in Brussels wants a hard border, Michel Barnier doesn't want a hard border," the MEP continued.

"What's your solution?" asked Nolan a third time.

After a fourth attempt, Daubney said that the solution was "a technological-based 21st century solution. There won't be some man stopping people at the border in a van."

"Is that how advanced the Brexit Party is?" mocked the presenter. "A leading party on Brexit, 'a technological solution'."

Daubney said it would be like how things were done in Felixstowe, using online paperwork, before explaining that the Port of Dover had said it was a "scam" that there needed to be checks for their part of the UK.

"I'm talking about the Irish border, will there be checks there?" enquired the radio host.

"At the moment, I'm not aware that will be happening," said Daubney.

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Nolan asked: "What's your policy? You're skilled professionals in Brexit. If we left on a no-deal scenario would the Brexit Party support checks on the Irish border?"

The politician said there would need to be a "full policy announcement from Nigel on the issue" before he told him a detailed answer.

"You're serious?" asked Nolan. "You don't know what your policy is on the Irish border?"

He continued: "On an issue that could affect peace in Northern Ireland, that could affect political stability in Northern Ireland, you're saying 'we're only six weeks old, we haven't worked it out yet.'"

Daubney said it had been worked out - it just hadn't been announced yet.

"You said a couple of minutes ago you've got to develop it," pointed out Nolan.

The Brexiteer responded: "I think you're being harsh - what I'm saying here is we've been absolutely clear is there won't be a hard border. The rest will be announced by Nigel in good time."

Asked why the policy had not been announced before the election, Daubney said: "This is an election that was fought on Brexit."

Nolan snapped back: "Yes and the Irish border is a key issue on Brexit", as the MEP continued to state it would be announced in good time.

The presenter reverted back to asking what the technological solution would be, but Daubney said he had been too busy campaigning for votes in the West Midlands to ask Nigel Farage what it was.

"Is this not deeply insulting to people in Northern Ireland as a start?"

He continued: "I guess the point is Martin, political stability in Northern Ireland is very important. For some people in this country the prospect of a hard border, or the prospect of any change to the border, the prospect of change in political stability affects lives in all communities in Northern Ireland.

"If you're going to be a serious Brexit Party then surely to goodness you've got to think about somewhere that is part of the United Kingdom."

Daubney said it was something they take with "absolute seriousness" and reiterated it would be announced in good time.

The MEP is not the first Brexiteer politician to be flummoxed by the Irish border issue on Stephen Nolan's programme.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen claimed that everyone in England is entitled to an Irish passport in an interview that showed his lack of knowledge on the matter.

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