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Brexit: Negotiations - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:28 pm on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Hain Lord Hain Labour 4:28 pm, 3rd October 2019

My Lords, why do not the Government listen to hauliers, businesspeople, trade unions and every Northern Ireland political party except the DUP—including the Ulster Unionists and the cross-party Alliance Party—who all oppose this proposal, which undermines the all-Ireland economy and betrays the Good Friday and Belfast agreement? Surely the noble Baroness must accept that the customs border proposed is unworkable because there are no enforcement measures, leaving it wide open to smuggling and criminality. It is a virtual hard border, not a physical hard border. How could Brussels enforce its own rules, except by erecting infrastructure for security and checks on this external frontier of the European Union, at least to obey World Trade Organization rules? Surely this is the worst of both worlds: customs clearance centres and arrangements, including tariffs, that would be a target for civil disobedience and, perhaps, paramilitary attack, a border that is not even secure, and a shift from no borders to up to four borders. I appeal to every Member of Parliament— certainly every Labour MP—to vote against it to protect the peace process and progress on the island of Ireland.