‘Incapable of delivering’ Boris Johnson’s broken promise on Brexit border slammed

Peter Kyle hits out at Johnson’s broken promise on Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland’s Shadow Secretary of State Peter Kyle threw a punch at UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for having broken his promise to prevent a customs border in the Irish Sea. As part of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the European Union and the UK both agreed the best way to protect the Good Friday Agreement and preserve peace in Ireland was a customs border in the Irish Sea instead of putting one up between the two Irelands.

That same Irish Sea border has plunged Northern Ireland into a political crisis, as the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) refused to nominate a speaker out of concern for that barrier. DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said the Irish Sea border would exacerbate Northern Ireland’s cost-of-living crisis and further separate it from Great Britain.

Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Mr Kyle said: “Boris Johnson said that previously there would be no border in the Irish Sea over his dead body.

“What’s extraordinary to me is the lack of willingness to accept any responsibility for what has unfolded.

“The Tory manifesto in 2019 had a very clear promise: no renegotiation.

“They said that the deal was a great deal for Northern Ireland.”

Boris Johnson’s Government signed the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU in January 2020 to get Brexit done – one of the key promises he made in the 2019 general election.

Back then, Boris Johnson promised there would be no border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. But he eventually agreed to that. 

In the face of the DUP’s opposition, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss seems to have found a way through with plans for a new bill that would unilaterally scrap the Irish Sea Border.

“They said that the deal was a great deal for Northern Ireland.”

The move has stirred up anger in the EU. The EU’s Brexit Commissioner Maros Sefcovic said he had “significant concerns” about the plan. He also warned that “unilateral actions are not acceptable”.

Mr Kyle continued: “So, there’s bad faith sown in from the start and absolutely no acceptance of responsibility for this.

“Bear in mind, the EU, the UK and most parties in Northern Ireland all agreed on the need for progress.

“This is the first set of negotiations that has failed because everybody agrees.

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“What’s missing? Trust, goodwill, and statecraft is missing.

“All these ingredients are things Boris Johnson is incapable of delivering.”

“It is possible through statecraft, through diligence, through craft to deliver progress on veterinary services and products, which would reduce barriers and challenges by 80 percent.

“You could move on to sharing data which would reduce it further.

“And then you could move on to issues like VAT. I think we should reduce VAT so that we can get money into people’s pockets during the cost-of-living crisis.

“These are all possible if we get negotiations right and have goodwill and trust at the heart.”

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