JACOB Rees-Mogg has issued a stern warning to the Republic of Ireland, deterring Dublin from falling in line with European Union demands to keep Northern Ireland under Brussels’ rule after Brexit.
Jacob Rees-Mogg warned the Irish economy could suffer if the European Union decided to impose a border between the two Irish nations.
The staunch pro-Brexit politician suggested the British Government will not seek to create a physical border between Dublin and Belfast but will reject attempts from Brussels to control Northern Ireland.
He said: “When we leave the European Union we won’t have to impose any border in Ireland if we don’t want to. That will be a unilateral decision to be taken by the British Government.
“If we do, if that is what the European Union wants and we go along with it, the losers will be the Republic of Ireland. The economy of the Republic of Ireland would be in very bad shape if we impose the common external tariff on them. Irish agriculture, with tariffs on beef of up to 70 percent would be ruined if we imposed that.
“The Irish have a huge interest in keeping the border open.”
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier set out the bloc’s draft Brexit treaty today with demands to align Northern Ireland withBrussels’ rules – including the customs union – in order to avoid a hard border, threatening to derail an agreement with the UK.
The EU’s Ireland plans could cause havoc in Westminster, with Theresa May’s partners the DUP set against divergence from the rest of the UK.
Mr Rees-Mogg spoke out against Mr Barnier’s proposal, saying the EU was being “quite improper” suggesting to “split the UK up.”
He told Sky News: “Northern Ireland is as much part of our country as Somerset is and for the European Union proposing splitting up the United Kingdom is quite an improper suggestion for them to make.”
The European Commission’s draft text for the UK’s withdrawal agreement sets out in legal terms plans for the establishment of a “common regulatory area” between the EU and Northern Ireland.
The plans envisage an area spanning the whole island of Ireland with no internal borders and free movement of goods.
The draft proposal suggests that EU and UK customs authorities should jointly oversee movements between Northern Ireland and the British mainland, while Europe would retain control over aspects of taxation and state aid in the six counties.
According to the document, that area would cover customs, VAT, energy, the environment, agriculture and a host of other areas, including full European Court of Justice jurisdiction.
Mr Barnier said the Ireland idea was a “backstop solution” to avoid a hard border.
He said: “It’s the only way to guarantee our joint commitments will be upheld in all circumstances.”
The text states that the proposed arrangements for Northern Ireland will cease to apply if and when alternative solutions are agreed to “address the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, avoiding a hard border and protecting the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions”.