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Checks on Goods: Northern Ireland and Great Britain

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:39 am on 24th October 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 10:39 am, 24th October 2019

I think that what has shaped these arrangements is something on which I hope the right hon. Gentleman and I can agree. There are unique circumstances in Northern Ireland. That does require a unique solution. There are already unique circumstances pertaining to the Belfast/Good Friday agreement. That is what the solution has put in place. He would, I think, be the first to criticise the Government if we proposed a solution that in any way compromised or involved infrastructure on the border between north and south. Therefore, that does require a degree of flexibility and creativity on all sides; that is part of a negotiation. It is to the credit of Taskforce 50 that, having for a long time said that the backstop was all-weather and all-insurance—having said that it could not be changed, that not a word could be amended—the taskforce did apply creativity and flexibility, and perhaps he should do so as well.