Rees-Mogg ‘ill informed’ on Irish border
PUBLISHED: 12:35 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 26 August 2018
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.
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.