Today, Nigel Farage, the Former UKIP leader, has been criticised for accusing Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator of the European Union, of wanting the IRA to become active again.
During an interview with the Times that was held today, Farage said that Barnier “would like the IRA to become active again.” He also said that Barnier has cultivated the idea of “a hard border and soldiers with rifles.”
Farage also accused the EU negotiator of “almost encouraging Republican terrorism” in Ireland.
He launched his scathing attack on Barnier as he is preparing to re-enter the world of politics with the Leave Means Leave campaign.
One of the main issues to a final Brexit deal is the Northern Ireland border, with a backstop arrangement that is planned to avoid a hard border in case of a no-deal.
However, some are concerned that a hard border could spark a return to violence in the province. Farage accused Barnier of exploiting the border issue to the advantage of the European Union. He also claimed that too much focus has been put on the issue.
Farage stated: “Mr Barnier would like the IRA to become active again. Some of these arguments are ridiculous, almost encouraging terrorism.”
He added: “Massive differences exist on that Irish border. How do we deal with it? Live and let live.”
He continued: “We co-operate. It works. We get by.”
Alastair Campbell, the Former Labour communications head and a pro-European, denounced the “desperate stuff” from Farage.
In a tweet, Campbell said: “All those years working on the NI peace process and this is the first I knew that Barnier was an IRA sleeper. Desperate stuff @Nigel_Farage”
The former UKIP leader argued that a solution to the question of the Irish border was easier than it was being portrayed by the European Union.
He stated: “The rugby team play together. All of Ireland has been a compromise since 1921. We make it work. Remarkable that Sinn Fein and DUP supporters watch Ireland play rugby. There you are . . . Massive differences exist on that Irish border. How do we deal with it? Live and let live. We co-operate. It works. We get by.”