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Rees-Mogg ‘ill informed’ on Irish border

PUBLISHED: 12:35 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 26 August 2018

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been attacked over claims people could be inspected at the Irish border as they were during the Troubles
Photo: PA / Stefan Rousseau

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been attacked over claims people could be inspected at the Irish border as they were during the Troubles Photo: PA / Stefan Rousseau

PA Wire/PA Images

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been branded “ill informed” after claiming people crossing the Irish border could be “inspected” as they were during the Troubles after Brexit.

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Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney hit out at the chairman of the hard-line European Research Group after his comments surfaced in a video posted on Twitter.

In the clip, Mr Rees-Mogg says that the UK could continue with “historic arrangements” to avoid a loophole that would allow people to get into the UK.

He continues: “There would be our ability, as we had during the Troubles, to have people inspected.

“It’s not a border that everyone has to go through every day. But of course for security reasons during the Troubles, we kept a very close eye on the border to try and stop gun-running and things like that.”

Both the government and the EU have ruled out a hard border – which would contravene the Good Friday Agreement that ended decades of fighting in Northern Ireland.

Coveney highlighted the clip on Twitter, saying: “It’s hard to believe that a senior politician is so ill informed about Ireland + the politics of the £Brexit Irish border issue that he could make comments like these.

“We have left ‘the Troubles’ behind us, through the sincere efforts of many, + we intend on keeping it that way.”

Fears of a return to violence have been raised if the Good Friday Agreement is damaged by the imposition of a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

The EU’s suggested solution to the problem – a common regulatory area for goods and customs with the rest of the EU – has so far been rejected by the UK as “annexing” Northern Ireland.

Theresa May has been adamant that such a move creating a border down the Irish Sea would be unacceptable to the government.

In return, May’s suggested solution, a complex customs arrangement that would see the UK collect duties for the EU, has been dismissed by Brussels.

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