“If somebody asks you to [fill in a form], tell them to ring up the prime minister, and I will direct them to throw that form in the bin”
Boris Johnson, to manufacturers in Northern Ireland
Johnson was responding to a Northern Irish exporter asking if he would have to fill in customs forms for goods going to Great Britain after Brexit. Johnson said: “You will absolutely not.” The prime minister had said in a speech: “There will not be checks on goods going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.”
Johnson has made similar claims before. In parliament on 22 October he said: “There will be no checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”
Three days after Johnson’s comments in Northern Ireland, the hapless Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng backed Johnson in an interview with Sky’s Sophie Ridge. He said Johnson was right in saying there would be no customs checks or forms: “As far as I understand I don’t think there will be. I think the prime minister’s absolutely right.”
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the House of Lords in October that paperwork would be required for goods sent from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.
The prime minister’s statement was a lie. Not for the first time, Kwarteng went on to parrot false statements made by a cabinet colleague.