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MP condemns ‘shroud-waving’ EU for raising prospect of hard Irish border

Tory Julian Lewis raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions.

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Countryside near Castlederg, Co Tyrone, part of a former smuggling route covering both sides of the Irish border (Michael McHugh/PA)

Countryside near Castlederg, Co Tyrone, part of a former smuggling route covering both sides of the Irish border (Michael McHugh/PA)

Countryside near Castlederg, Co Tyrone, part of a former smuggling route covering both sides of the Irish border (Michael McHugh/PA)

A senior Tory MP hit out at “shroud-waving” EU negotiators as he claimed a hard Irish border will not materialise as no-one wants to build it.

Julian Lewis, chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, pressed Prime Minister Theresa May to ask who would construct such a border the next time it is raised as a prospect by Brussels.

Agreement over the Irish border has proved to be a difficult issue to resolve during Brexit talks.

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Anti-Brexit billboards on the northern side of the border between Newry in Northern Ireland and Dundalk in the Republic (Niall Carson/PA)

Anti-Brexit billboards on the northern side of the border between Newry in Northern Ireland and Dundalk in the Republic (Niall Carson/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Anti-Brexit billboards on the northern side of the border between Newry in Northern Ireland and Dundalk in the Republic (Niall Carson/PA)

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Lewis said: “The next time shroud-waving EU negotiators claim a hard border is necessary on the island of Ireland, will she kindly ask them who would actually construct it?

“The Irish certainly won’t, the British certainly won’t, so unless the EU army plans to march in and build it, it surely can never happen.”

Mrs May replied: “We’re all working to ensure there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, that is the clear commitment of the United Kingdom Government, as agreed by the European Union when we signed the December joint report.”

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