Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has reiterated the country will not need to use a veto to force a solution on its border with Northern Ireland after Brexit – an issue that a key Labour Brexit-backer has said falls to the other side to fix.
Speaking to Irish broadcaster RTE on Monday, Mr Coveney said:
We don’t need to use a veto because we have complete solidarity on this issue with 26 other EU countries. It is clear to us that if there is not progress on the Irish border, we will not be moving onto phase two [of Brexit negotiations] in December and that was reinforced to me as late as last Friday by very senior EU leaders.
His comments come after Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall and a vocal advocate for leaving the EU told the BBC that Ireland should foot the bill for any expenses linked to post-Brexit customs arrangements. In a heated debate on the Today programme, she said:
Why don’t the Irish government actually become more positive about this and start looking for solutions with their closest neighbour and partner?
We are not the ones who are going to be putting up the physical border. If it ends up with no deal, we won’t be putting up the border, they’ll have to pay for it, because it doesn’t need to happen.
To the clear consternation of her fellow interviewee, Irish senator Neale Richmond, Ms Hoey added that she would “not be a bit surprised” to see Ireland also seek to leave the EU once it sees the success of the UK’s exit. Mr Richmond said:
We haven’t made the decision for the UK to leave the EU. You are making the decision, a decision that affects us far more than it will affect anyone else on the continent.
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