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Brexit: Boris Johnson says there will be no checks at Northern Ireland border or 'at any other place'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a statement to the House of Commons on his Brexit proposals. Credit: House of Commons/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a statement to the House of Commons on his Brexit proposals. Credit: House of Commons/PA Wire

The Prime Minister has said there will be no customs checks at the Northern Ireland border or "at any other place" post-Brexit, contradicting what he said in his letter to Jean-Claude Juncker.

Boris Johnson made the statement in the Commons on Thursday after outlining his Brexit plans to MPs.

He was asked by Tory MP Damian Green, the former work and pensions secretary, to give assurances that no customs infrastructure would be put in place anywhere.

The PM replied: "I can tell him that, absolutely not. The proposals that we are putting forward do not involve physical infrastructure at or near the border - or indeed at any other place."

In Mr Johnson's letter to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, however, he said some checks would need to be put in place.

He said: "We are proposing that all customs processes needed to ensure compliance with the UK and EU customs regimes should take place on a decentralised basis, with paperwork conducted electronically as goods move between the two countries, and with the very small number of physical checks needed conducted at traders' premises or other points on the supply chain.

"To enable this, we should both put in place specific, workable improvements and simplifications to existing customs rules between now and the end of the transition period, in the spirit of finding."

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson called for the Prime Minister to visit the Northern Ireland border and "listen to people and communities there".

She said: "If the Prime Minister had bothered to go to the Northern Ireland border, he would know the genuine fear that people there feel about his proposals which they see will result in physical infrastructure for the border, whether that is actually on the border or as he euphemistically puts it 'at some other point in the supply chain'.

"Will the Prime Minister now go to the Northern Ireland border and listen to the people and communities there, or does he just not care?"

Mr Johnson replied: "I, of course, understand the concerns of the people of both sides of the Northern Irish border and indeed across this country.

"That's why we are absolutely determined not to have any kind of infrastructure checks at the border or near the border, as I explained to my honourable friend. They are not necessary."

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