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[Day 2]

Part of Burma – in the House of Commons at 2:14 pm on 15th March 2018.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 2:14 pm, 15th March 2018

Absolutely. It was so long ago that neither the Brexit Secretary nor the Foreign Secretary can remember the last time they visited the Irish border. That is a failing that both of them have to put right quite soon. I did not understand just how important a non-border was until I went there with the Brexit Committee and we could not find the border between two sovereign states. That is what borders should be these days. They should not be easy to see on a map or physical barriers; they should be physical routes for the exchange of people and, as I mentioned, ideas.

To date, nobody has put forward a proposal that allows the Government’s red lines of leaving the customs union and single market to be compatible with other red line of honouring the spirit and the letter of the Northern Ireland Good Friday agreement. That irreconcilability cannot be allowed to continue. If the Government cannot come up with their own very clear and detailed proposals within the next few weeks to reconcile those irreconcilable red lines, the red lines of leaving the customs union and single market will have to go, because the red line of continuing the peace process in Ireland cannot be sacrificed in any circumstances. I appeal to the Minister to give assurances that no proposal involving staffed checkpoints on the Irish border will be given any credibility or consideration in these negotiations.