Johnson ‘out of the loop’ on Brexit talks, says Hogan

Irish EU commissioner, Phil Hogan, has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, claiming the British foreign secretary is “completely out of the loop” on the Brexit negotiations.

Irish EU commissioner Phil Hogan

The criticism by the Agriculture Commissioner comes ahead of a key speech by British prime minister, Theresa May, who, tomorrow, will reveal more about her country’s EU withdrawal.

Ireland’s continuing concerns about a fresh border, post-Brexit, will also be addressed in the Dáil today, by EU parliament Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhoftstadt.

Mr Hogan told the Evening Standard: “[Mr Johnson] certainly has made very strange statements that are completely contradictory, and completely at odds with his own government’s position, as well as the possibility of being reasonable with the EU in finalising a deal.

“So, it strikes me that he is completely out of the loop in relation to the type of concrete proposals that are required and that are being considered by the UK.”

Mr Johnson is adamant Britain should not pay a so-called ‘divorce bill’ for Brexit, a key issue being negotiated alongside the future scenario for the North.

But the striking criticism by Commissioner Hogan will raise questions about the deteriorating relationship between London and Brussels over Brexit.

Meanwhile, the EU parliament’s Mr Verhofstadt will address the Dail chamber today and will reiterate that a hard border must not be allowed to return to the North. Yesterday, he told RTÉ: “We have absolutely to avoid the razor action of a border again,” he said.

He said there have been proposals to keep the North inside the EU’s customs union and single market after Brexit, thereby removing the possibility of fresh trade barriers. But he added: “It’s the UK government that has to come forward with such a unique solution. Why? Because the problem that could be created here is the consequence of a decision by Great Britain and government.”

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