Labour Party Seeks Binding Promise Regarding Northern Ireland Border Post-Brexit


On Sunday, the Labour Party, the opposition party of Britain, demanded that the government produce a legally binding commitment to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, saying that the pledges of the ministers could not be trusted.

Northern Ireland will become the only land frontier of the United Kingdom with the European Union after Brexit in March of next year. It continues to be the most difficult issue in the discussions between London and Brussels, and a threat to the peace in the British province.

Both the European Union and the United Kingdom are committed to maintaining a free flow of people and goods over the Irish border even without the return of checkpoints — symbols of the three decades that were marked by violence in the region that was largely ceased by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

However, looking for a practical solution for any customs checks that are required after Brexit has proved to be elusive.

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit minister of Labour, informed the Observer newspaper: “The point has now come where it is so serious that we have to enshrine this in law.”

Ahead of a speech that is set to be delivered on Monday in which he will accuse the ministers of backsliding, he said that the Labour Party would present a suggested change to Brexit legislation that is currently going through the parliament to make sure that the government abides by its promises regarding Northern Ireland.

Labour has its own internal divisions with regards to Brexit. The said divisions were exposed last Friday when Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, dismissed his shadow Northern Ireland minister after he requested for a second referendum on Brexit.

The preferred solution of the government for Northern Ireland is for a customs agreement that grants for as much frictionless trade with the European Union as possible, mitigating the necessity for border checks. On the other hand, the Labour party is asking for a formal customs union with the European Union.

On Sunday, David Davis, the Brexit minister, repeated the promise of the government to look for a means to avoid a hard border in the British province after withdrawing from the European Union, saying that there would be no cameras and no checkpoints.

He informed the BBC: “What we’re going to do is ensure that the border that exists now, which after all is a border for excise and tax, even currency, will continue to exist but back away.

“It won’t be visible; there won’t be any return to the borders of the past.”