I am grateful both to the Secretary of State and to the Minister for making it very clear that there will be no hard borders within the island of Ireland and no hard borders between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. Will she make it very clear that a hard Brexit for the United Kingdom would be incompatible with the statement that she has just made? It is important that we have that clarity.
Is it not the case that there already are different tariffs, for example, on petrol and diesel, and yet there is an open border? Surely the best way to ensure that there is an open border is to have a comprehensive free trade agreement with the rest of the European Union.
Quite right. My hon. Friend is correct on two counts. The first is that, of course, there is already co-operation across the border. He mentions the way that we need to be able to deal with fuel, for example, on the two sides of the border. He is also absolutely correct that what we want is a free trade agreement—a comprehensive deal—which is laid out in the agreement that the Prime Minister brought back from Brussels. That is the work ahead.
Minister, in recent comments, the Irish Prime Minister, Mr Varadkar, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Coveney, have indicated that they will draw a border down the middle of the Irish sea. May I say that those sorts of comments do not give much confidence back to the people of Northern Ireland and the Unionist community that I represent, who want to be an integral part of the United Kingdom?
I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that we in this House want to see no new borders inside the United Kingdom. We think that the Union is a precious thing that must be preserved. I will also just note, as I did to Tony Lloyd, that the relationship that we have with the Irish Government and that we want to continue to have with them should be one of close partners. We should work together to ensure the prosperity of the people in Northern Ireland, and I shall leave it to the Irish Government to continue to hold that strong relationship with us.
Order. I will call the hon. Gentleman on the understanding that his question consists of a single short sentence.
To keep the answer short, this should be a shared endeavour to ensure a future trade deal that has benefits for the people of the entirety of the United Kingdom. That is what we want to see.