According to a leaked memo, Boris Johnson, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, told the UK Prime Minister Theresa May that the Britain doesn’t have any responsibility to prevent a hard border in Ireland after Brexit. But it can be the Government’s target to prevent the crossing to become “significantly harder”, he said.
The leaked memo which was published by Sky News also showed that Johnson didn’t care about the consequences of a hard border. Last year, Boris Johnson had said that there will be no hard border anymore between the North and the Republic.
However, in Brexit referendum campaign, he emphasized that the border must be “absolutely unchanged”. “It would be wrong to see the Government’s task as maintaining no border,” Boris Johnson said, as was written in the memo.
It is said that there is the possibility for Northern Ireland to become part of EU customs territory after Brexit. This is a little horrifying for UK Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson. The result may prevent the Britain to come out of EU’s economic structures, and have its own trade deals.
Ian Murray, a Labour supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, claimed that Johnson is ready to “undermine the Good Friday Agreement”. “It can be little wonder that negotiations over Ireland are now severely strained: because Theresa May and her ministers have consistently failed to be honest about the implications of the hard Brexit they seek,” he said.
“As the threat to the integrity of the peace process from Brexit becomes clear, we all have the right to keep an open mind as to whether that it is too high a price to pay,” Murray continued. On the other hand, the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry beseeched a soft border in Ireland.
“I just don’t know where to start … We need to have a soft border in Ireland in order to ensure that we have peace in Ireland. That is the truth and that’s what Boris Johnson is supposed to be responsible for,” she said.
“The British Government have promised the people of northern and southern Ireland that there will be a soft border and now privately he’s saying that actually it probably will be a hard border, but hey, never mind,” she continued.