Brexit LIVE: Victory as EU insiders plan emergency customs U-turn – ‘Not UK’s problem!’

Question Time: Mark Reckless on Johnson delivering Brexit

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And former Tory MP Mark Reckless, now a member of the Welsh Senedd, has said the prospect should focus minds in Brussels – pointing out that in such circumstances, it would cease to be the UK’s problem. Mr Reckless, the former Tory MP for Rochester and Strood, was speaking after Irish broadcaster RTE quoted unnamed EU diplomats as acknowledging the possibility of a radical new approach to checks in the face of ongoing difficulties carrying out checks at Northern Irish ports. One said: “Member states are very serious about the internal market and if there’s a loophole in Northern Ireland which is too big, then, of course, something might happen on the Irish crossing between Rosslare and Cherbourg.

“But that is pre-empting a discussion which is not really being had.”

Mr Reckless told Express.co.uk: “If the EU wants to enforce stringent customs checks for ideological reasons ‘to protect the integrity of the Single Market’ and Ireland will not enforce a Northern Ireland border, then logically EU checks will need to be done across the Celtic Sea between Ireland and France.

“It appears from the RTE reporting that EU officials are increasingly recognising this.”

Such an outcome would not be in the bloc’s interests – but neither would it be the UK’s responsibility, Mr Reckless, a member of the Abolish the Welsh Assembly party, pointed out.

He added: “Everyone agrees that we do not want to see the return of a Northern Ireland border. Shortly after the Brexit referendum, British and Irish authorities set to work on sensible plans to manage Brexit without border checks.

“This was before the EU decided to use the Irish border to block a proper Brexit or try to punish the UK.

“Many of the post-Brexit differences across the Northern Ireland border can be managed with goodwill away from the border.

“Widespread physical checks or extensive form filling should not be needed, given the relatively small amount of trade affected compared to the size of the EU.”

Mr Reckless stressed: “The UK may be willing to co-operate with the EU to allow some checks across the Irish Sea and in Northern Ireland ports, if they are willing to do this pragmatically and with a light touch proportionate to the true risk of this affecting their overall trade.

“If that cannot be agreed, then the Northern Ireland protocol cannot work.”

(This is a liveblog – scroll down for regular updates)

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7.20am update: Ferry checks not the UK’s problem, says Brexiteer

EU officials may be forced to begin checking goods on ferries travelling between Ireland and France is the current impasse over the Northern Ireland protocol is not resolved, a Brexiteer has said.

And former Tory MP Mark Reckless, now a member of the Welsh Senedd, has said the prospect should focus minds in Brussels – pointing out that in such circumstances, it would cease to be the UK’s problem.

Mr Reckless, the former Tory MP for Rochester and Strood, was speaking after Irish broadcaster RTE quoted unnamed EU diplomats as acknowledging the possibility of a radical new approach to checks in the face of ongoing difficulties carrying out checks at Northern Irish ports.

One said: “Member states are very serious about the internal market and if there’s a loophole in Northern Ireland which is too big, then, of course, something might happen on the Irish crossing between Rosslare and Cherbourg.

Mr Reckless told Express.co.uk: “If the EU wants to enforce stringent customs checks for ideological reasons ‘to protect the integrity of the Single Market’ and Ireland will not enforce a Northern Ireland border, then logically EU checks will need to be done across the Celtic Sea between Ireland and France.

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