Belfast Telegraph

Boris Johnson meets DUP and pledges not to take Northern Ireland out of UK customs territory or to harden Irish border

Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson is pictured alongside Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster at Parliament Buildings on the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. Pic Matt Mackey Presseye
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Boris Johnson has vowed "under no circumstances" will there be a hard border in Ireland if he becomes PM and never to accept any Brexit deal that would take Northern Ireland out of the UK's customs territory.

He made the comments in a tweet after meeting with DUP leader Arlene Foster at Stormont.

The front runner in the Conservative leadership race had earlier faced members of his party in a hustings event

He said it was "a pleasure" to meet with Arlene Foster saying they discussed restoring the Northern Ireland institutions.

"If I become PM, under no circumstances will there be a hard border on the island of Ireland, nor will I accept a deal that sees NI taken out of the UK’s customs territory," he tweeted.

Mrs Foster described their discussion as "useful" saying they talked about the lack of government in Northern Ireland and "delivering the referendum result".

However, his meeting with the party did not go down well with at least one Conservative party member.

Fermanagh man Roger Lomas said he thought Mr Johnson's meeting with the DUP was a "bit discourteous to the party".

He told the BBC this was the day to convince the party faithful in Northern Ireland of his leadership credentials and he could have met with the Northern Ireland party another time and in Westminster.

During the hustings event at the Culloden Hotel, Boris Johnson defended his attendance at the DUP party conference last year saying his party needed Arlene Foster's MPs in order to keep Labour's Jeremy Corbyn out of Number 10. He said the labour leader "had an agenda to break up the Union".

At the DUP conference Mr Johnson said the UK stood on the verge of making a historic mistake if it did not "junk the backstop". He later voted for Prime Minister Theresa May's deal which included the backstop.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds met with Mr Johnson's rival for the leadership Jeremy Hunt in Westminster on Monday evening.

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