Following the tragic deaths of the people in the back of the lorry in Essex, the Home Secretary delivered a statement to the House on what further action has been undertaken.
I was keen to press the Home Secretary on a report undertaken by the Chief Inspector of Ports and Borders in 2016. The report identified a number of failings that needed to be rectified – including increasing the number of checks on vehicles entering the UK through our smaller ports. I wanted assurances that the Home Office had reviewed that report and will be undertaking further examinations of what action can be taken.
It was good to hear that the Home Secretary knew the report I was enquiring about, but we need to see action accompany her words.
My concerns over the UK Government’s inaction to prove that no infrastructure will be built on the Northern Irish / Republic of Ireland border continue. I have asked many times if they will rule out any infrastructure – which includes simple things such as CCTV – and each time I have received no concise clear answer.
This time I pressed to see if the Government had spent anything on investigating the possibility of infrastructure on the border. The minister retorted that he is “pretty certain” that the answer is no.
I am appalled that he couldn’t give a categorical answer either way – especially when the peace process in Northern Ireland is such a fragile thing. Any creation of infrastructure on the border will raise tensions within the communities of Northern Ireland and I fear for its consequences that is why we need to be part of a customs union with the EU following Brexit.
The leaked letter from the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson MP, to the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, saying that it is not job of the UK Government to maintain no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic was reckless.
One of the core components of the peace agreement in Northern Ireland is that there shall be no border on the island of Ireland. Labour launched an Urgent Question to get to the bottom of this matter.
I wanted to know what action the Government will be taking to ensure that there is no border between Holyhead, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. These are three key markets for our local economy and if we have borders erected it will be to the detriment of jobs.