During questioning by Maria Caulfield MP at the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Labour’s Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary admitted he could not name any evidence that required a hard border in Northern Ireland only commentary from the EU.
Labour’s Tony Lloyd MP had answered previous questions by saying that there had to be a hard border if the UK left the EU under World Trade Organisation rules on 29th March. However when pressed by Maria Caulfield MP on where in the WTO rules this is required Mr Lloyd failed to answer.
Maria Caulfield, the Conservative MP for Lewes and leave campaigner, went on to revealed that the WTO have stated that no hard border would be required if the UK left under WTO rules.
In a torrid session for the Labour lead on Northern Ireland the Shadow Secretary of State went on to admit that he has not watched previous evidence sessions at the Committee by trade experts who have also dismissed the need for a hard border between the republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Customs experts have previously said during the committee sessions that checks can be done away from the border using technology that is largely in place due to the VAT border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Maria Caulfield MP said “Labour’s Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary spent the evidence session telling us that WTO rules must lead to a hard border in Northern Ireland but when I questioned this he failed to tell us where in the WTO rule book it says that we must have a hard border. Even when told of trade experts and the WTO themselves saying it is not necessary all Mr Lloyd could do was tell us that the EU rhetoric was for a hard border, despite it not being necessary.”
“I would also think that given Mr Lloyd could be Northern Ireland Secretary in the event of General Election, he would do well to watch our evidence sessions in the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee so that he is better informed of the evidence rather than political bluster and project fear.”