'Entering into very dangerous territory': Kate Hoey warns Ireland will become 'magnet' for migrants

'Entering into very dangerous territory': Kate Hoey warns Ireland will become 'magnet' for migrants
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 14/05/2024

- 08:05

A Labour peer has said that this week's Supreme Court ruling will make Northern Ireland ‘a magnet’ for migrants and said Brexiteers who opposed the Windsor Framework were ‘literally lied to’.

Baroness Kate Hoey said the government had divided their country ‘at the behest of a foreign power’ as she warned about the 'dangerous' implications of a land border for people between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Speaking on GB News Baroness Kate Hoey said:

“I think the judgment is really significant for the future of the United Kingdom. We have a trade border already, which has been put in and that was meant to be the end of it all. We all opposed it, and it is dividing, without doubt, the United Kingdom.

“But this now is basically introducing a people border. So how do we know that they're not going to suddenly decide, well, the only way we're going to stop people leaving to come to Northern Ireland is to produce your passport?

“As I've said, over and over again, and I've raised this in the House of Lords we were literally lied to.

“Some of the points that were made were, ‘this cannot happen, it's on the face of the bill. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. We will have one United Kingdom immigration law.’

“And now we've seen it. Of course, the government will appeal this, and I presume it will go to the Supreme Court, but I would be very surprised if the Supreme Court takes a different view. Because everyone who understood it and read about Article Two of the protocol knew that this could not apply.

“I would have thought any government whether it's this government or the next government, which is likely to be a Labour government, would have to be very, very careful about the effects on the Belfast Good Friday Agreement of actually saying to people living in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, that they are going to have to show something that proves they are who they are when we're living in one country.

“What other government in the world, what other country in the world would have divided their country at the behest of a foreign power, the European Union?

“It is absolutely outrageous and every week, something new happens that shows just how much we were lied to.

“And people understand this and any introduction of anything that divides even more the people from Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, our country, I'm afraid will be met with much stronger views and anger than there have been.

“The Republic of Ireland, just a few weeks ago, were suggesting because they said that 80% of all their illegal immigrants were coming from Northern Ireland, because they were worried about being sent to Rwanda, were saying we'll have to have checks.

“And yet they want to put checks on a tiny amount of trade that goes into the EU via Northern Ireland! Absolutely scandalous.

“And tomorrow in the House of Lords, we're going to have the third reading of banning animal exports, again, not applying to Northern Ireland, because we've been left under European Union law. And I think all those people who voted to leave the European Union, including those in Northern Ireland, yes, admittedly not a majority, need to realize that they haven't actually left the European Union in Northern Ireland.

“It's almost as if the Foreign Office has once again done a little deal with the Irish government. That’s a slightly cynical approach and probably not true. But there is this feeling all the time that our own government, our British government, actually doesn't stand up for the Union. I mean, what is their job if their first job is not to actually support the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

“I genuinely feel that if Boris Johnson had stayed, he knew, and he told me himself, he knew what they were doing was to get Brexit done, and I actually believe he would not have entered into these further agreements that have just made things so much worse.

“No other country would allow these thousands of people that are coming in illegally to happen.

“Particularly the Law of the Sea, there is a rule that they should be taken back. We're paying France millions of pounds. What are we giving France the money for? [Returning people]is really what should have happened, but ultimately, we can't go on the way this is happening.

“Northern Ireland is going to be a magnet for people to come over and I just would warn any government who's thinking of putting in checks on people, they are entering into a very dangerous territory.”

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