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No new cameras on Irish border after Brexit, Karen Bradley says No new cameras on Irish border after Brexit, Karen Bradley says
(35 minutes later)
There will be no new cameras on the border on the island of Ireland after Brexit, the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, has said, warning that any physical checks on the border could be targets for criminal activity.There will be no new cameras on the border on the island of Ireland after Brexit, the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, has said, warning that any physical checks on the border could be targets for criminal activity.
However, she said physical infrastructure could be needed away from the border to implement whatever customs deal is struck in the Brexit negotiations.However, she said physical infrastructure could be needed away from the border to implement whatever customs deal is struck in the Brexit negotiations.
The Northern Ireland secretary appeared to cast doubt over how the government could implement one of the two post-Brexit customs arrangements currently under consideration, the “max fac” model, where automated technology and trusted trader schemes would be used to police the border. Bradley appeared to cast doubt over how the government could implement one of the two post-Brexit customs arrangements currently under consideration, the “max fac” model, where automated technology and trusted trader schemes would be used to police the border.
“We are committed to no new physical infrastructure at the border, no new checks or controls at the border,” Bradley told MPs at the European scrutiny select committee.“We are committed to no new physical infrastructure at the border, no new checks or controls at the border,” Bradley told MPs at the European scrutiny select committee.
“We have said there will no ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras, no new cameras, we have been clear that there will be no new physical infrastructure.” “We have said there will be no ANPR [automatic number plate recognition] cameras, no new cameras, we have been clear that there will be no new physical infrastructure.”
A customs union is an agreement by a group of countries, such as the EU, to all apply the same tariffs on imported goods from the rest of the world and, typically, eliminate them entirely for trade within the group. By doing this, they can help avoid the need for costly and time-consuming customs checks during trade between members of the union. Asian shipping containers arriving at Felixstowe or Rotterdam, for example, need only pass through customs once before their contents head to markets all over Europe. Lorries passing between Dover and Calais avoid delay entirely.A customs union is an agreement by a group of countries, such as the EU, to all apply the same tariffs on imported goods from the rest of the world and, typically, eliminate them entirely for trade within the group. By doing this, they can help avoid the need for costly and time-consuming customs checks during trade between members of the union. Asian shipping containers arriving at Felixstowe or Rotterdam, for example, need only pass through customs once before their contents head to markets all over Europe. Lorries passing between Dover and Calais avoid delay entirely.
Customs are not the only checks that count – imports are also scrutinised for conformity with trading standards regulations and security and immigration purposes – but they do play an important role in determining how much friction there is at the border. A strict customs regime at Dover or between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would lead to delays that will be costly for business and disruptive for travellers. Just-in-time supply chains in industries such as car making could suffer. An Irish peace process built around the principle of entirely unfettered travel between north and south could be jeopardised.Customs are not the only checks that count – imports are also scrutinised for conformity with trading standards regulations and security and immigration purposes – but they do play an important role in determining how much friction there is at the border. A strict customs regime at Dover or between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would lead to delays that will be costly for business and disruptive for travellers. Just-in-time supply chains in industries such as car making could suffer. An Irish peace process built around the principle of entirely unfettered travel between north and south could be jeopardised.
However, asked if she considered it a “disgrace” to suggest there would be a return to violence because of Brexit, she explained that the border had 270 crossings, some of them unmarked roads and rural lanes.However, asked if she considered it a “disgrace” to suggest there would be a return to violence because of Brexit, she explained that the border had 270 crossings, some of them unmarked roads and rural lanes.
“We have to be clear why having new physical infrastructure would be a problem at the border and it is the security situation,” she told MPs.“We have to be clear why having new physical infrastructure would be a problem at the border and it is the security situation,” she told MPs.
But she added that it might be elsewhere: “We have to be very careful when we look at the arrangements and the suggestions that would be in place as to how we would police it; how we would manage the infrastructure needed, should infrastructure be needed at some point, at some place, in order to achieve the aims of the customs arrangements.”But she added that it might be elsewhere: “We have to be very careful when we look at the arrangements and the suggestions that would be in place as to how we would police it; how we would manage the infrastructure needed, should infrastructure be needed at some point, at some place, in order to achieve the aims of the customs arrangements.”
Bradley, a close ally of Theresa May, is known to favour the other option being considered by ministers, known as the new customs partnership, in which the UK would collect taxes on behalf of the EU.Bradley, a close ally of Theresa May, is known to favour the other option being considered by ministers, known as the new customs partnership, in which the UK would collect taxes on behalf of the EU.
“There’s no doubt that new customs partnership, the hybrid model, makes the Northern Irish border easier. It is resolved in an easier way than maximum facilitation,” she said.“There’s no doubt that new customs partnership, the hybrid model, makes the Northern Irish border easier. It is resolved in an easier way than maximum facilitation,” she said.
However, Bradley said there were “defects” with both options. “I have an open mind and I want to drill down ... to see if it is possible to make either option work.”However, Bradley said there were “defects” with both options. “I have an open mind and I want to drill down ... to see if it is possible to make either option work.”
Bradley was repeatedly challenged by two prominent Eurosceptics on the committee, its chair, Sir Bill Cash, and the Labour MP Kate Hoey, on whether cameras could constitute infrastructure.Bradley was repeatedly challenged by two prominent Eurosceptics on the committee, its chair, Sir Bill Cash, and the Labour MP Kate Hoey, on whether cameras could constitute infrastructure.
Cash said he believed concerns about the border were “deliberately stoked up to preclude a solution” and that cameras were already present and policed effectively.Cash said he believed concerns about the border were “deliberately stoked up to preclude a solution” and that cameras were already present and policed effectively.
Bradley said she could not speculate where any new infrastructure might be, if not at the border but acknowledged new technological solutions to undertake any new border checks might require additional policing. Bradley said she could not speculate where any new infrastructure might be, if not at the border,o but acknowledged new technological solutions to undertake any new border checks might require additional policing.
“We have to be clear why having new physical infrastructure would be a problem and it is the security situation; it is the fact there are a small number of people who believe the way to achieve their aims [is] through violence and who would destroy that physical infrastructure,” she said.“We have to be clear why having new physical infrastructure would be a problem and it is the security situation; it is the fact there are a small number of people who believe the way to achieve their aims [is] through violence and who would destroy that physical infrastructure,” she said.
Bradley was asked by Hoey if she could rule out a situation where the government was forced to accept the backstop agreed at the December European council, as part of the withdrawal agreement.Bradley was asked by Hoey if she could rule out a situation where the government was forced to accept the backstop agreed at the December European council, as part of the withdrawal agreement.
The agreement says that unless a solution is found to the border issue, the UK will “maintain full alignment with those rules of the internal market and customs union”. Bradley said the backstop option was “not where anybody wants to be”.The agreement says that unless a solution is found to the border issue, the UK will “maintain full alignment with those rules of the internal market and customs union”. Bradley said the backstop option was “not where anybody wants to be”.
Quizzed by Labour’s Darren Jones, Bradley said customs was a small part of finding a solution to issue of the Irish border, given rules on plants and animal checks, are part of the single market, not the customs union.Quizzed by Labour’s Darren Jones, Bradley said customs was a small part of finding a solution to issue of the Irish border, given rules on plants and animal checks, are part of the single market, not the customs union.
“Let’s not see the discussion about customs, which is only a very small part of the overall relationship, out of context,” she said.“Let’s not see the discussion about customs, which is only a very small part of the overall relationship, out of context,” she said.
“We have to recognise the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, this will be the only land border with the EU where the remaining part of the country does not have a land border with Northern Ireland. That’s why unique solutions are needed.”“We have to recognise the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, this will be the only land border with the EU where the remaining part of the country does not have a land border with Northern Ireland. That’s why unique solutions are needed.”
Bradley said she did not accept Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins’ claim that ministers views were “coloured” by their views on Brexit as a whole. “I want to find a solution that works,” she said. “That includes my constituents in Staffordshire [who voted leave] and the people of Northern Ireland.” Bradley said she did not accept the Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins’ claim that ministers views were “coloured” by their views on Brexit as a whole. “I want to find a solution that works,” she said. “That includes my constituents in Staffordshire [who voted leave] and the people of Northern Ireland.”
Jones, a supporter of the second referendum campaign People’s Vote, who quizzed Bradley at the proposal, said the lack of detail was concerning. “It’s remarkable that the government hasn’t made a single proposal on how it will deal with any single market border checks after Brexit, including on food and animal products,” he said.Jones, a supporter of the second referendum campaign People’s Vote, who quizzed Bradley at the proposal, said the lack of detail was concerning. “It’s remarkable that the government hasn’t made a single proposal on how it will deal with any single market border checks after Brexit, including on food and animal products,” he said.
“Time is quickly running out, and we will have no implementation period without resolving the Northern Ireland border question. This whole fiasco is bordering on incompetence.”“Time is quickly running out, and we will have no implementation period without resolving the Northern Ireland border question. This whole fiasco is bordering on incompetence.”
BrexitBrexit
Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland
IrelandIreland
European UnionEuropean Union
Karen BradleyKaren Bradley
Europe
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