“Not at all. Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the UK”

Boris Johnson, Leadership debate, ITV

November 19, 2019

Claim

When Julie Etchingham, moderator of the TV debate, said Boris Johnson’s deal would create “a trade border down the Irish Sea,” the prime minister replied: “Not at all. Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the UK.”

Facts

While Johnson is correct to say Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the UK, there will be customs checks and controls for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. 

This is because under Johnson’s deal, Northern Ireland will continue to follow many EU rules on food and manufactured goods, unlike the rest of the UK. 

Johnson’s own 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. 

Verdict

The prime minister’s claim that there will be no trade border down the Irish sea was a lie which he has repeated on numerous occasions. 

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