Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Northern Ireland today – for his first visit as PM. He is refusing to meet the Irish Taoiseach or engage in any talks with the Irish government despite the UK government’s obligations under the Good Friday Agreement (Section 1(3)) to maintain “equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between these islands.”
Commenting, (Lord) Peter Hain, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“Boris Johnson is using Northern Ireland for stake money in his gamble with the future of the UK.
“He is willing to see security and progress threatened, damaged or even destroyed if it helps him in his drive to push the U.K. out of the EU without the people being given the final say.
“Maybe Mr Johnson should spend more time talking to ordinary people in the towns and villages by the border, where the local economies face devastation if No Deal is forced on them.
“After twenty-one years of progress since the Belfast Agreement it is disgraceful that Boris Johnson has so little grip on the realities of Northern Ireland’s finely balanced politics that he believes a simple promise not to put infrastructure on the frontier line itself solves all problems.
“Enforcing new customs checks, wherever they come, will mean massively increasing state intrusion into the lives and businesses of those who regularly cross the border and that poses a real threat to the economy - and ultimately to security.
“Boris Johnson cannot have his No Deal or Hard Brexit and keep the border open and invisible.
“All of this is a million miles away from anything discussed in the referendum campaign and that is why it is essential we have a People’s Vote.”