McGinn – Government’s Northern Ireland Brexit plan is a step along the road of regression

Commenting on the release tomorrow (Wednesday) of the Government’s position paper on Brexit and the Northern Irish border, Conor McGinn MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“The Government is right to reiterate its pledge not to return to the borders of the past, but even this language shows how far along the road of regression we have travelled since Brexit.

“After 20 years of progress and co-operation on the island of Ireland and between the UK and Ireland, the Government's vagueness and posturing is squandering the goodwill of our nearest neighbour and strong ally.

“These proposals on a light touch border are lighter still on detail. They don't outline how a frictionless or seamless border can be achieved when the UK leaves the EU and won't reassure anybody about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland. 

“A border must not be reimposed in Ireland, either for people or for goods. The Government has failed to say how it can reconcile its desire to maintain the Common Travel Area with its policy of limiting and monitoring immigration.

“On customs, the Government are admitting that a hard Brexit that takes us out of the Customs Union will lead to more form-filling and red tape for firms on both sides of the border. That would damage the economy and put jobs at risk.

“It's becoming clearer by day the Government should negotiate to keep the UK in the Single Market and the Customs Union.”


Notes to editors:

Conor McGinn is the Labour MP for St Helens North. He is originally from County Armagh and grew up close to the border. He is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland.