Theresa May to rule out hard border on visit to Northern Ireland
Prime Minister Theresa May is to rule out a hard border during a visit to Northern Ireland this week.
There has been speculation that recent changes to the Government's Customs Bill following votes at Westminster could lead to a no deal Brexit and a hard border in Ireland.
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The Prime Minister will be visiting a border area on Thursday with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley and will meet with businesses to listen to their views on what working, living and trading across the border means to them.
She will then deliver a speech on Friday in Belfast, which will emphasise her personal commitment to the strength of the UK’s four nations and the solutions set out in the White Paper that address Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances.
The PM is expected to meet with Northern Ireland's political parties in an attempt to progress talks aimed at restoring the power-sharing institutions.
She will also speak to young people to hear their views on Northern Ireland’s future, for them and generations to come.
“I look forward to hearing views from businesses on the border in Northern Ireland on our departure from the European Union," the Prime Minister said.
“I fully recognise how their livelihoods, families and friends rely on the ability to move freely across the border to trade, live and work on a daily basis.
“That’s why we have ruled out any kind of hard border. Daily journeys will continue to be seamless and there will be no checks or infrastructure at the border to get in the way of this. "
The Prime Minister also reiterated her commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.
“I’ve also been clear we will not accept the imposition of any border down the Irish Sea and we will preserve the integrity of the UK’s internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it," Mrs May said.
“From the start of the negotiations, the UK Government has put Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances at the heart of our negotiations. And nothing will undermine our commitment to protecting the Belfast Agreement.
“I also look forward to meeting political parties on working together to restore stable and effective devolved Government for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital