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Prime Minister's trade deal vision roadmap to hard Brexit, says Farry

The Prime Minister’s vision for a trade deal between the UK and EU is a roadmap to a hard Brexit, Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MP has said.

Dr Farry was speaking after Boris Johnson outlined his ideas, saying there was “no need” for the UK to follow EU rules. Dr Farry said the implications of the position nullified commitments given around avoiding border checks.

“This speech represents a roadmap to a hard Brexit. The harder the Brexit, the greater the political and economic impact for the UK as a whole, and for the interface down the Irish Sea,” he said.

“The implications of this position nullify the previous commitments given by the Prime Minister to avoiding border checks. Even the most far-reaching free trade agreement would be qualitatively different from a Customs Union and the Single Market, and would entail some degree of friction.

“It is hard to take the Government’s rhetoric on free trade and a global Britain seriously when it is erecting barriers to its existing markets and walking away from the greatest example of economic integration in history.

“They should be focusing on securing a soft Brexit and minimising the damage. The pursuit of a hard Brexit will now either see the Government forced into a u-turn when faced with the logic of the UK’s economic and other interests or pursue a particularly reckless path fuelled by delusion that will only lead to deep and long-term damage, in particular for Northern Ireland.”