Boris Johnson has insisted there will be “no circumstances” in which goods coming between Northern Ireland and Great Britain would be subject to checks after Brexit.
The Prime Minister, who is in Stormont after the breakthrough last week restored the power-sharing executive, praised those involved for having “stepped up to the plate and shown leadership”.
He said circumstances are “very, very promising” for Northern Ireland. The breakthrough meant “now is the chance to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland… the people’s priorities,” Johnson said.
Better infrastructure, education and technology in Northern Ireland would improve things for all four nations of the United Kingdom, Johnson added, stressing that he leads a government for the whole of the UK.
Asked about life after Brexit, Johnson stressed there were “no circumstances whatever in which there will be a need for checks” on goods going between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
However he added that goods going from Britain to Northern Ireland would undergo checks if they were destined for Ireland, and if the government had failed to negotiate a zero-tariff trade deals.
Either way, the assembly would be free after four years to vote to end those arrangements, he added.
Earlier this morning Arlene Foster, who resumed her role as First Minister when the Northern Ireland Assembly returned this weekend, said she would be seeking reassurances from Johnson about post-Brexit trading arrangements.
“The Prime Minister has been saying very clearly that he will ensure that there is unfettered access,” she told the Today programme.
“I want to hear from him today how he’s going to do that and how the regulations that are coming forward are going to make sure that there aren’t any barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, because the rest of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, is our biggest market, both in terms of what we send to them but also what they send to us.”
She also noted there was need for investment to fill the “huge hole” in finances, affecting infrastructure.
“It’s a package that will have to be capital and resource, and I think the prime minister is very much aware of what we need.
Asked whether the figure being asked for was up to £2bn, the DUP leader said she was “not going to put a figure on it because I think it is important that we get the right figure”.
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