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Northern Ireland Border - Statement

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

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Photo of Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence) 7:11 pm, 28th February 2018

My Lords, I shall do my best to maintain the same level of objectivity as the noble Lord, Lord Howard, in these matters. This is a seminal moment, is it not? The publication of the withdrawal document and the Government’s robust response to it highlight that the Government’s position is to adopt mutually inconsistent objectives: no hard border, no customs union and, indeed, no full alignment, as the withdrawal document sets out. On the matter of electronic borders, let us remember that cybercrime is something against which we are obliged to take as many precautions as we possibly can. If you want to cause mischief in Ireland with an electronic border, you should embark on the kind of activity that allowed people to get into the Pentagon. If they can get into the Pentagon, they will undoubtedly be able to cause mayhem in any electronic arrangement for the border. My point is that, on the face of what is said in the withdrawal document and the Government’s response, we are heading for a hard Brexit. How would the Government fulfil their obligations under the Belfast agreement if there were a hard Brexit?