European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:57 am on 5th September 2019.

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Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Conservative 11:57 am, 5th September 2019

My noble friend is enormously experienced in these matters, particularly in Northern Ireland. He, above all, knows that the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland situation is unique. There is nothing like it in the rest of the world. I was involved with Mr Whitelaw in trying to reinforce the military side of the border to stop the Provos coming up from Dundalk. We tried, but it did not work because there are a thousand other outlets. Even if people wanted to recreate a visible border, it would not work. My noble friend knows perfectly well that the Irish situation is unique and that there are, therefore, opportunities for unique solutions. I am not saying that it will be admitted. I do not expect even my noble friend to admit that anything I am saying at the moment is correct. The facts, the documents and the expertise on many other frontiers are there. I do not have all the details in front of me at this moment to quote in the debate. They are there for reading and I am sure he has read them.

That was my first point. There is a way out if we are careful and sensible and deal with the matter in a mature way. I am not that hopeful it will happen, given all the interruptions, but there we are.