The issue of the Northern Ireland border will be one of the main differences between a deal with the EU and no deal, according to an expert. Throughout the Brexit process there have been fears leaving could place Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in different customs and regulatory regimes, thus requiring products to be checked at the border. Professor Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative, spoke to Jonathan Saxty on BrexitWatch about what the implications for Northern Ireland would be if the withdrawal agreement went ahead as it is.
He said: “Well the implications for Northern Ireland are partly tied to the trade deal.
“So if you imagine that Boris Johnson signed a trade deal that effectively meant the UK stayed in the customs union and the single market, the implications for Northern Ireland would be that there are absolutely no checks between GB and NI in either direction.
“Now we know that’s not the sort of deal Boris Johnson wants, he’s going to sign a far thinner trade deal.
“When it’s thinner it implies the need for checks on goods going from GB to NI.”
The expert continued: “The thinner the deal the more intrusive those checks.
“That’s one of the big differences between deal and no deal.
“If we end up without a trade deal the checks on goods going into Northern Ireland are going to have to be quite frequent and quite intrusive.
“If we end up with a deal with the EU that, say, scraps tariffs and quotas for goods, far fewer checks are needed but it does change the terms of trade between GB and NI.”
Goods travelling from mainland UK to Northern Ireland will be required to go through “light-touch checks”, according to Michael Gove.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told a Commons select committee that these would be conducted on the ferry through transportation to ensure all requirements can be met.
He stressed the importance of making sure that checks are “not so onerous” that they create financial and administrative burdens for businesses in Northern Ireland.
The minister assured that the Government was engaging closely with the Northern Ireland office and business departments in the area.
The admission emerged despite the Prime Minister himself insisting multiple times that there would be no checks in the Irish Sea.