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Boris Johnson sparks outcry over his ‘great deal for NI’ claim

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

By Patrick Daly

The Prime Minister has praised his Withdrawal Agreement as a "great deal" for Northern Ireland because it keeps "access to the single market" - despite wanting to pull the rest of the UK out.

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Speaking to Conservatives in Northern Ireland, Boris Johnson talked up his exit terms with the European Union for its ability to keep single market access and free movement for Northern Ireland.

Mr Johnson, in a video posted on Twitter by Manufacturing NI, said: "Northern Ireland has got a great deal. You keep free movement, you keep access to the single market but you also have, as it says in the deal, unfettered access to GB."

The Liberal Democrats have criticised the PM following his comments for wanting to treat the region differently to the rest of the UK.

His Brexit deal with the EU will see Britain leave the single market and customs union but with Northern Ireland following different rules to prevent a hard border.

Tom Brake, the Lib Dems' Brexit spokesman, said: "The single market and freedom of movement are a great deal - even Boris Johnson recognises this.

"So why isn't he keeping them for the whole of the UK as part of the many benefits of EU membership? It is clear that the best deal for the UK is the one we have now - in the EU," said the anti-Brexit politician.

The former London mayor looked to clarify his comments when interviewed by broadcasters yesterday.

The Prime Minister replied: "I'm not going to hide it from you that Northern Ireland has a good deal but so does the whole of the UK."

Mr Johnson visited Northern Ireland on Thursday.

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