Boris Johnson refuses to rule out leaving Northern Ireland in E.U. customs union

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has refused to rule out delivering Brexit by allowing Northern Ireland to remain in the E.U.'s customs union.

“I think it would be wrong of me to give a running commentary on the negotiations,” said Mr. Johnson.

Boris Johnson made the comments less than 24 hours after meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Cheshire on Thursday. (Photo: P.A. Wire)

Boris Johnson made the comments less than 24 hours after meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Cheshire on Thursday. (Photo: P.A. Wire)

“With the greatest possible respect I think, look at everything I’ve said previously. I think you can draw your own conclusions from that. But let’s our negotiators get on.”

He added: “I can certainly tell you that under no circumstances will we see anything that damages the ability of the whole of the United Kingdom to take full advantage of Brexit, and I think that’s what people would expect, and that’s what I think we can achieve.

“Where Leo Varadkar and I got to yesterday was a joint feeling that there is a way forward, and we can see a pathway to a deal. That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. So there’s work to be done.”

Also on Friday, the European Union's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, told the 27 other member states that the British government had conceded they could not replace the backstop with land customs checks.

"On customs, they admitted that the solution cannot result in the creation of a border in Ireland," said Mr. Bariner.

Additionally, news agency Reuters has reported that two senior E.U. diplomats said the possible solution could include two elements: keeping Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom’s customs union and, at the same time, ensuring that customs and regulatory checks were carried out together.