Jacob Rees-Mogg says people should be ‘inspected’ on Irish border after Brexit as they were ‘during the Troubles’

Jacob Rees-Mogg says people should be ‘inspected’ on Irish border after Brexit as they were ‘during the Troubles’

Jacob Rees-Mogg has sparked anger after calling for people to be “inspected” crossing the Irish border after Brexit in the same way as “during the Troubles”.

The Irish deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, attacked the “ill informed” comment, saying on Twitter: “We have left ‘the Troubles’ behind us, through the sincere efforts of many + we intend on keeping it that way.”

And Lord Deben, the former Conservative cabinet minister, said: “Mr Rees-Mogg seems utterly unable to understand how dangerous and irresponsible are his views.

“Nothing must get in the way of his doctrinal determination to get UK out of the EU; neither current facts nor historical reality; neither sense nor sensitivity.”

Theresa May has promised to prevent a return to border posts and checks at the Irish border, but her proposals for future trade and customs with the EU have been rejected by Brussels.

Alarm has continued to grow – with the rising threat of a no deal Brexit – and police chiefs have warned of the return of terrorism if there is a hard border.

But, speaking at a recent town hall meeting on Brexit, Mr Rees-Mogg suggested bringing back “historic arrangements” to avoid a loophole that would allow people to get into the UK.

“There would be our ability, as we had during the Troubles, to have people inspected,” said the leading hard Brexiteer.

“It’s not a border that everyone has to go through every day. But, of course, for security reasons during the Troubles, we kept a very close eye on the border to try and stop gun-running and things like that.

“It’s not inconsistent to have a border that people can pass through but you are keeping an eye on.”

Mr Coveney highlighted the clip on Twitter, saying: “It’s hard to believe that a senior politician is so ill informed about Ireland + the politics of the Brexit Irish border issue that he could make comments like these.”

Lord Adonis, the former Labour cabinet minister and anti-Brexit campaigner, tweeted: “Last month he said the answer was for Ireland to leave the EU too. Despicable. Irresponsible. Very sad.”

 

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