People are puzzled by a bizarre rant in which Boris Johnson was attempting to reassure Conservatives in Northern Ireland about his Brexit deal would involve – which is anything but reassuring.
Johnson’s speech has had people scratching their heads outside the room of bemused-looking Conservatives after it was posted on Twitter by Manufacturing NI, who warn: “The video is shared without comment for obvious reasons!”
Dismissing concerns about the red tape his deal would involve for Northern Ireland businesses, Johnson boasts: “Northern Ireland has got a great deal. You keep free movement, you keep access to the single market but you also have, as it says in the deal, unfettered access to GB.”
Johnson clearly can’t see the irony as he gesticulates and talks up Northern Ireland’s ability to keep single market access and free movement under the Brexit withdrawal he has negotiated with the EU.
All of which begs the obvious question – if free movement and single market access are so brilliant, why on Earth should the rest of the UK have to undergo being ripped out of all that by Johnson’s Brexit deal?
The agreement would see Britain leave the single market and customs union but with Northern Ireland continuing to abide by EU rules and enjoy its full benefits to prevent a hard border.
Tom Brake, the Lib Dems’ Brexit spokesman, reacted: “The single market and freedom of movement are a great deal – even Boris Johnson recognises this.
“So why isn’t he keeping them for the whole of the UK as part of the many benefits of EU membership?
“It is clear that the best deal for the UK is the one we have now – in the EU.”
Johnson also appeared to either not understand his own Brexit deal or faslely reassure Northern Ireland businesses by misleadingly boasting that goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain would not face checks as a result of his Brexit agreement.
This directly contradicts evidence given by Johnson’s Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.
Barclay told MPs that “minimal targeted interventions” would be required on some goods travelling between the two areas of the UK, due to Northern Ireland remaining aligned with Dublin and Brussels rules for the trade of goods while the rest of the UK leaves.
But holding what looks like a drink and waving his arm, Boris Johnson told a baffled-looking audience that his Government would “not enact such checks”.
“There will not be tariffs or checks on goods coming from GB to Northern Ireland that are not going on to Ireland,” he insisted on Thursday.
“There will not be checks – and I speak as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a passionate Unionist,” Johnson added, appearing not to understand the implications of his Brexit deal to the union of the United Kingdom.
“There will not be checks on goods going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain because we are the Government of the United Kingdom and we will not institute or implement or enact such checks.
“And the idea that Tayto crisps from Tandragee are going to be vetted by some process, it is just nonsense.”
Johnson also admitted how “irrational” his repeated threat to take Britain out of the EU with a no-deal Brexit was. – A threat Parliament was forced to remove from Boris Johnson, costing 21 of his Tory colleagues their party whips when Johnson vengefully removed it.
Johnson bragged to those assembled that Brussels was forthcoming with a Brexit deal because European leaders feared the repercussions of Britain making the “irrational decision” to leave without a deal.
“Even though they could see what the Benn Act was doing to us and how difficult it was, they were not quite sure whether the UK Government was going to be sufficiently irrational, as they saw it, as to come out with (no-deal),” he said.
Johnson’s compelling case for staying in the EU and against a no-deal Brexit has gone viral with people reacting with as much bemusement as those stood around the PM as he delivered his speech.
Even the Tripe Marketing Board expressed their concerns.