Furious Labour veteran Kate Hoey challenged Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley after she told MPs the threat of violence meant new “physical infrastructure” along the border would be impossible.
Ms Hoey stormed: “Are you saying we might not consider putting up or using cameras away from the border … because of some blackmailing and threats by dissidents who might actually decide that they are going to start killing people? “Are we really saying that? As that what it sounds like.”
Ms Bradley insisted the government was just being “practical” about what it could and couldn’t achieve as it looks to solve the chaos around what happens to the Irish border once the UK leaves the EU.
Speaking to MPs on the cross-party European Scrutiny Committee yesterday Ms Bradley repeated dodged questions about how the government may seek to break the deadlock over a future customs agreement with Brussels.
Pressed at one point to answer “personally”, she replied: “I’m not here as a person, I’m here as a Secretary of State."
Ms Bradley – one of Theresa May’s closest allies – admitted the Customs Partnership proposal backed by the PM would make it easier to deal with the Irish border question after Brexit.
A customs partnership would involve border controls remaining as they are, with the UK collecting duties on behalf of the EU. Boris Johnson and other Brexit-leaning Cabinet Ministers prefer ‘Max Fac’ where the UK could use smart technology to track goods.
Ms Bradley she insisted both customs options could be made to work.
She told MPs: “There is no doubt that a customs partnership hybrid model makes the Irish situation easier.
“There is no doubt that the question of the Irish border is resolved by the customs partnership in an easier way than maximum facilitation.”
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