Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Northern Ireland Border - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:11 pm on 28th February 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Duncan of Springbank Lord Duncan of Springbank Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland 7:11 pm, 28th February 2018

I thank the noble Lord very much for his question. The United Kingdom Government’s support for the Belfast agreement is unwavering, certain and clear. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has iterated and reiterated that on more than one occasion. The memo written by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary is, I do not doubt, one of many papers that circulate at that level containing a number of ideas. That memo does not—I repeat, “does not”—represent the United Kingdom Government’s position and therefore it should not be seen as such. The position remains unchanged in this regard, and it is part of what I would like to term the “joint report”: that is, the agreement reached by the United Kingdom Government and the EU in December remains fixed at where we are today.

Noble Lords will be aware that there were three options in the joint report which were core and key. The UK and Irish Governments were very much of the view that they wish to see the border allow freedom of movement across it in a manner that does not fetter and is not restrictive. That remains the position of the United Kingdom Government. It is hoped that through the negotiations, which are ongoing and will continue into the near future, we will be able to bring about an agreement around what I would term “option A” of the joint report agreed by the EU and the UK Government in December of last year.