Bradley warns no-deal Brexit will mean WTO customs checks in Ireland

Bradley warns no-deal Brexit will mean WTO customs checks in Ireland

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley has made clear a no-deal Brexit will deliver customs and regulatory checks on the island of Ireland.

She stressed that, while the UK Government is committed to working to avoid a hard border, World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules are “very clear” and checks would need to be carried out on consignments passing between two customs territories on a contemporaneous basis.

The Conservative MP also suggested that UK and EU commitments outlined in last December’s joint report on maintaining the Common Travel Area – an agreement which allows free movement for UK and Irish citizens in Britain and Ireland – would also be thrown into doubt in a no-deal scenario.

Ms Bradley, who pitched the merits of the draft Brexit deal to business leaders in Belfast today, said the report’s undertakings to protect the Single Electricity Market (SEM) and ensure certain citizens’ rights are upheld post-Brexit would also fall by the wayside if the UK crashes out.

“They are agreed as part of the withdrawal agreement, that is not something that is agreed in a no-deal situation,” she said.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley (Victoria Jones/PA)
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley (Victoria Jones/PA)

During the business briefing, Ms Bradley was asked to react to comments from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that a border would be inevitable in a no-deal scenario.

The Secretary of State was challenged on the apparent contrast between Mr Varadkar’s statement and the UK Government’s oft-stated position that it is committed to ensuring no hard border post-Brexit.

In response, she urged the audience to familiarise themselves with WTO rules on the need for checks to happen.

After the event, she elaborated: “WTO rules means that there has to be a requirement that checks are carried out, that tariffs are paid, that customs declarations have to be completed – now, how that is done will be matter for us to negotiate and consider, but the fact is the WTO is very clear that if there is two separate customs territories, checks have to be able to be carried out on a contemporaneous basis on consignments passing between the two customs territories.

“We will do, as the UK Government, everything we can to avoid there being a hard border on the island of Ireland – we do not want to see there being physical infrastructure at the border and we will try to facilitate that in any way we can.

“But the WTO rules are clear – tariffs will apply, checks will be required – that is what the WTO says.”

Be under no illusion - the EU won't start negotiations all over again

Despite the DUP’s trenchant opposition to the Government’s plan, Ms Bradley did not mention the name of the party once during her appearance at Belfast Met College – not in her speech, during a question-and-answer session with business leaders or a later press conference.

Despite being pressed, she repeatedly insisted that she did not want to “single out” one political party, instead urging all MPs to get behind the deal.

She insisted the draft agreement protects the “precious Union” of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and warned it is the only option on the table.

“Be under no illusion – the EU won’t start negotiations all over again,” she said.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Sterling slides to 90p against euro on prospects of Brexit Halloween frightSterling slides to 90p against euro on prospects of Brexit Halloween fright

CRH's €1.6bn sale plan in Europe engenders tepid reaction from investorsCRH's €1.6bn sale plan in Europe engenders tepid reaction from investors

Pound slumps to two-year lows as no-deal Brexit looms into viewPound slumps to two-year lows as no-deal Brexit looms into view

Grieve accuses Johnson of Brexit ‘radicalisation’ over Irish backstopGrieve accuses Johnson of Brexit ‘radicalisation’ over Irish backstop

More in this Section

HSE reveals 50 women whose results were delayed by IT glitch tested positive for HPV virusHSE reveals 50 women whose results were delayed by IT glitch tested positive for HPV virus

Demand for post-abortion support more than doubles, Cork Sexual Health Centre reportsDemand for post-abortion support more than doubles, Cork Sexual Health Centre reports

Two-car crash in Waterford kills man, another airlifted to hospitalTwo-car crash in Waterford kills man, another airlifted to hospital

Man avoids jail for setting off smoke bomb in Cork nightclubMan avoids jail for setting off smoke bomb in Cork nightclub


Lifestyle

It's hard to build a reputation in gaming, but it can be even harder to keep one.Game Tech: Dragon Quest Builders sequel builds on first outing

Fretting about doing your holiday shop with the summer sales in full swing? Who needs the hassle?Beach babe: Log on, check out and have a stress-free start to your holiday

Tea dunking is not just for cosy winter evenings. Biscuits are handy in the summer months for picnics or to keep you going on long hikes.Michelle Darmody's tricks for perfect home made biscuits

Apply sunscreen throughout the day, says Helen O’CallaghanBurning issue: Children's skin needs added protection from the sun

More From The Irish Examiner