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Government response on Border Control Posts “pathetic” – Lord Empey

Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Empey, has described the UK Government response to his Private Notice Question in the House of Lords on proposed Border Control Posts between Northern Ireland and Great Britain as “pathetic”.

Lord Empey said:

“This was the Government’s opportunity to directly address the huge concern that exists around proposals for Border Control Posts at Northern Ireland’s ports and airports and frankly their response was pathetic.  It was clear from the answers that the Government had taken a decision to play a straight bat to just get through the questions.

“The fact that UK Government has agreed to install Border Control Posts between Northern Ireland and our main market in Great Britain is perverse.  Assurances to date offer little comfort to businesses of continued unfettered access to the United Kingdom’s Single Market.  It’s doubtful the Prime Minister’s claim last year that he would instruct people to throw custom’s declarations “in the bin” can be relied upon. 

“With just over seven months until businesses will be expected to be fully compliant with required changes, it is a disgrace that so many questions are still unanswered such as whose regulations will be enforced at proposed Border Posts, what sanctions will apply for non-compliance and under which legal jurisdiction the process is being conducted.”

Lord Empey’s Private Notice Question was as follows:

To ask HMG if agreement has been made to establish border control posts at ports and airports in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021 and how this is compatible with repeated assurances from Ministers that goods moving from Northern Ireland would have free and unfettered access to UK markets?

Supplementary:

My noble friend will be aware that Ministers have repeatedly assured the House that no checks will take place on goods moving to or from Northern Ireland after Transition.  There is a widespread feeling that Members have been consistently misled. 

Will be tell the House whose regulations Customs Officers will be enforcing at these Border Control Posts, what sanctions will apply for non-compliance and will be commit to facilitating a debate in this House so that we can examine this issue which is of unparalleled economic and constitutional significance?

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