Monday, July 25, 2016

Theresa May visits Northern Ireland

One of the biggest problems in making Brexit work - indeed, a major part of one of the two main reasons I personally eventually voted "Remain" - is the total inconsistency between the Leave promise to "take back control" of the UK's borders and their promise not to introduce border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

When Britain leaves the European border this will become our land border between Britain and the European Union,  and at the moment the only way you know when you have crossed it is that the speed limit signs change.

To introduce controls on that border would be both horribly expensive and devastating to the lives of local people on both sides of it, but there could be serious difficulties implementing some of the "take back control" promises without doing so.

I was very pleased to see the reports of Theresa May's visit to Northern Ireland to meet the leaders of the Northern Ireland Assembly for two reasons - first because it means that in her first fortnight as Prime Minister she has met the leaders of all three devolved administrations and promised to involve them in the Brexit negotiations, and second, because it shows that she understands the specific problem of that border and is determined to find an acceptable solution.

After meeting the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Theresa May promised that "Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past."

She pointed out that the UK and Ireland had had a common travel area long before either country was a member of the EU and promised to work to find a solution which is going to work and deliver a practical solution for everybody "in the best interests of the whole of the United Kingdom."

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