Johnson admits there will be checks on goods between Britain and North

Labour revealed ‘official, sensitive’ document noting customs between North and Britain

Boris Johnson at Conservative campaign HQ  in London,  December 8th. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Boris Johnson at Conservative campaign HQ in London, December 8th. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA


Boris Johnson has admitted there will be checks on some goods going from Britain to Northern Ireland as a result of his Brexit deal.

But, in an interview on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, he said the checks would not be on goods travelling into Britain from the North

Asked if there will be checks, the prime minister said: “No, absolutely not.

“The deal we’ve done with the EU is a brilliant deal and it allows us to do all the things that Brexit was about so it’s about taking back control of our borders, money, laws, but unlike the previous arrangements it allows the whole of the UK to come out of the EU including Northern Ireland and the only checks that there would be, would be if something was coming from GB via Northern Ireland and was going on to the Republic, then there might be checks at the border into Northern Ireland. ”

He said the leaked Treasury analysis document that Labour revealed on Friday was “wrong” to suggest there could be checks and even tariffs on goods travelling between the two parts of the UK”.

“Yes [that’s wrong],” said the Tory leader. “Because there’s no question of there being checks on goods going NI/GB or GB/NI because they are part of – if you look at what the deal is, we’re part of the same customs territory and it’s very clear that there should be unfettered access between Northern Ireland and the rest of GB.

“The only reason – this is another of these things that has been produced by the Labour Party as a kind of distraction.”

Withdrawal deal

Johnson has repeatedly said there would be no customs checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Britain under the withdrawal deal which he agreed with the European Union.

But the Treasury document produced last week by the Labour Party, marked “official, sensitive”, says exporters would have to make customs declarations when moving goods between Northern Ireland and Britain and these new barriers will be “highly disruptive” to Northern Ireland’s economy. The leaked analysis warned that 98 per cent of Northern Irish exporters to Britain are small to medium-sized businesses, which are “likely to struggle to bear” the cost of a new border

Corbyn said that is was “the cold, hard evidence that categorically shows the impact Johnson’s damaging Brexit deal will have on large parts of our country”. Under the withdrawal deal, Northern Ireland would remain aligned with the EU’s single market rules for trade in animal, food and manufactured goods to resolve the biggest sticking point in negotiations: how to ensure there is a seamless border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The leaked document says: “At minimum, exit summary declarations will be required when goods are exported from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.” The document states that new barriers could lead to higher prices in the North and that unemployment in areas such as retail is likely to rise.

On Friday the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, said the report’s conclusion that there would be customs declarations and security checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain came as no surprise. The DUP, she said, had always said that Johnson’s withdrawal deal would create a border down the Irish Sea, and this is why the party was opposed to it. The DUP would seek to use its influence after the election to have the withdrawal agreement changed, she said.