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Post-Brexit border talks in Brussells

Labour's Keir Starmer is shadow secretary of state for exiting the European Union.

By Anthony Neeson

Talks began in Brussels this week at reaching a deal on the Irish border post-Brexit.

Issues being discussed include customs, food safety, animal health and regulations of goods.

While both the EU and the UK agree that there should be no hard border, gaps remain on how this can be achieved.

It comes as the British Labour Party announced that it wants cross-party support in London not to have any infrastructure, customs posts or cameras along the border after Brexit.

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Labour Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: “At the end of last year, the EU and UK government made a political agreement that there would be no hard border in Northern Ireland.

“However, the content of the withdrawal agreement is not legally binding. It is a political document subject to negotiation and will not have legal force unless and until it is ratified – which is by no means a done deal.”

Meanwhile, more voters in Britain would prioritise leaving the European Union ahead of maintaining the Union with Northern Ireland.

A poll at the weekend found that a third of those polled (36%) said leaving the EU was a higher priority than keeping Northern Ireland in the UK. Twenty-nine per cent said keeping Northern Ireland within the Union was more important than Brexit.

Reacting DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the survey was not relevant.

“The Good Friday Agreement states very clearly that the principle of consent means that it’s for the people of Northern Ireland alone to decide whether we remain part of the United Kingdom,” he said.

“Since the UK government, the Irish government and Brussels have all said that any Brexit agreement must fully recognize all of the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, I really don’t think this is relevant.”

An international agreement that effectively brought the Northern Ireland troubles to an end, the DUP did not sign up to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.