“The prime minister has been very clear, you know. We’re not going to have anything. We’re going to make sure that there’s unfettered access into the UK market”

Julian Smith, Conservative Northern Ireland manifesto launch

November 27, 2019

Claim

According to The News Letter newspaper in Belfast, the Northern Ireland secretary made the statement when asked if under the government’s Brexit deal there would be additional administration between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Boris Johnson has repeatedly said the same thing.

Facts

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay had previously said that under the Brexit deal paperwork would be required for goods sent between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The government’s own impact assessment on the withdrawal agreement says: “Goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be required to complete both import declarations and Entry Summary (ENS) Declarations because the UK will be applying the EU’s UCC (Union Custom Code) in Northern Ireland. This will result in additional administrative costs to businesses.”

I wrote to the Conservative Party on 29 November asking if it stood by the claim and if so what evidence it had to support it. I asked for a response by 2 December. If and when I receive one, I will note the fact.

Verdict

The Northern Ireland secretary was repeating a mantra used by Johnson on numerous occasions. It was a lie.

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