BBC Brexit row erupts as Dominic Raab lashes out at Radio 4 host’s ‘factually wrong’ claim

Brexit: Raab clashes with BBC host on Northern Ireland rules

BBC Radio 4 Today programme host Justin Webb accused Boris Johnson and the Government of going back on their word regarding checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Mr Webb argued the Government had said under no circumstances would there be any checks but have now agreed to checks in hopes of getting a Brexit deal. However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab argued that this was “factually wrong.”

Mr Raab said: “I don’t accept that, no it is not a fact and I will explain why it is factually wrong.

“If you look at what Michael Gove had achieved with the joint committee I think it is an example of the pragmatism we have shown.

“We secured an arrangement that respects the equities of the single market but guarantees Northern Ireland businesses unfettered access to Great Britain and no tariffs on goods unless they leave the United Kingdom when they leave the United Kingdom.

“There is a trusted scheme in place, no physical customs infrastructure.”

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“There are, it is fair to say, limited SPS checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland but that is the deal with animals.”

Mr Webb interrupted to reiterate that Boris Johnson had previously said there would not be any checks but now there are.

Mr Raab snapped back: “He said no additional checks, we already have arrangements for SPS.”

Mr Webb replied: “No, hang on, there are additional checks.

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“For instance, there are going to be export health certificates on live animals plus plant products going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

“It will cost a couple of hundred quid, you don’t have to get those at the moment and in the longer-term future, you will and that is just a fact.”

Mr Raab replied: “You already have the equivalent of SPS checks at the port of Larne.

“I have been over there and seen it for myself.

“There may be an incremental difference in the substance of the declaration that are made but there are no additional bespoke checks as a result of this.

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“Another area other people were concerned about with Brexit and Northern Ireland was state aid.

“No state aid rules will apply to great Britain and Northern Ireland fishermen will be exempt.”

Boris Johnson and his Government have been criticised for refusing to walk away from Brexit talks with the EU as we move closer to the end of the transition period at the end of the year.

Mr Johnson has insisted that the UK will continue talking till the last moment to get a deal.

After the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Ursula von der Leyen, the pair have agreed that talks will continue to at least Sunday. 

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