01 June 2018
East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson said,
DUP Parliamentary Spokesman on Education, Treasury and the Department of Work & Pensions.
“The status of the latest leaked proposals about how the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic would be dealt with when we leave the EU is unclear. None of these proposals have been discussed with the DUP and at first examination they appear to be at best contradictory.
First of all, to suggest that Northern Ireland be tied to both EU and UK regulations, when one of the objectives of leaving the Single Market is to allow the UK to set its own regulations, raises the question which regulations apply to Northern Ireland if and when the UK and the EU regulations diverge? Secondly, who will make the judgement as to which regulations should apply? Will it be the EU or the UK Government? Will it be the UK courts or the European Court of Justice?
The purpose of the border buffer zone appears to be even less clear. Whilst the idea seems to be that movement can take place within the buffer zone, what happens to trade from outside the buffer zone when it crosses into that zone? Do checks have to be carried out there?
These convoluted arrangements only arise because of the Government’s failure to make it clear to the EU that regardless of Barnier and EU negotiators' attempts to keep us in the Customs Union and the Single Market, we are leaving. The Government must make it clear that all of the borders which will exist as a result of us leaving, whether that is between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, the Irish Republic and Great Britain, or Great Britain and Europe all present the same problems. They can all be dealt with using existing technology and administrative arrangements along with the proposed enhancements of those by people like Karl Larrson and many of them can be eliminated through a comprehensive free trade arrangement which the EU have not even begun to talk about.
Instead of moving from one set of half-cooked ideas to the other it is now time for the Government to put down its foot and make it clear to EU negotiators that the Prime Minister stands by her commitment that no deal is better than a bad deal and if they want to avoid the consequences then they need to stop dismissing the perfectly feasible ideas that were put forward in August of last year.”