My Lords, with the leave of the House, I would like to repeat the Answer given by my right honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in response to an Urgent Question asked in the other place today. The Answer is as follows:
“This Government have been consistent in their commitment to Northern Ireland as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. First, we will never accept any solutions that threaten the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom. Secondly, we will not accept a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which would reverse the considerable progress made through the political process over recent decades. That position has been consistent, from the Prime Minister’s Article 50 letter through to our position paper published last summer and the PM’s Florence speech last autumn.
Most recently, the Government enshrined both those commitments very clearly in the joint report we agreed with the European Union in December. That set out very clearly our,
‘commitment to preserving the integrity of’, our,
‘internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it’.
It also included our,
‘guarantee of avoiding a hard border’, between Northern Ireland and Ireland, including any related checks and controls. These commitments were agreed collectively by the entire Cabinet and I believe they have wide support across the House. These commitments have not changed, nor will they”.