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Government customs posts proposals major breach of faith, says Long

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MEP has said UK Government proposals to have customs posts on both sides of the border as an alternative to the Brexit backstop represent “a major breach of faith”.

Mrs Long was speaking after the proposals were sent to the EU. It would mean customs posts created five to ten miles from the border. The Alliance Leader said she expected the EU would reject the idea.

“These suggestions are totally out of question and represent a major breach of faith in this process,” she said.

“Those of us who have expressed concern about the creation of new infrastructure have been taunted repeatedly by the Government and its supporters with the question of "Who will build it? We won’t.” Yet here in these proposals they are suggesting they are willing to do just that.

“Throughout these negotiations, the UK Government was clear its intention was to avoid a hard border and the return of any border infrastructure in all circumstances. It was understood any such border would see a reversal of many of the gains of the Good Friday Agreement and would significantly disrupt the north-south economy and local communities.  

“Moving the posts 10 miles either direction doesn't change that. This is the hard infrastructure all parties, whether pro-Leave or pro-Remain, were assured would not happen. They represent the abandonment of the UK Government pledges from the Joint Report in 2017 and are about managing not avoiding a border. They are completely unworkable.

“The Government needs to quickly recognise the seriousness of the situation and the negative impact this is having on people's lives, livelihoods and sense of security and well-being. It has confirmed, were it ever in doubt, a backstop is essential, as this is not a Government that can be taken at its word.”