Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith says Irish border is not really a problem

Iain Duncan Smith says a free trade agreement could solve the Northern Ireland problem

Iain Duncan Smith says a free trade agreement could solve the Northern Ireland problem

Monday, February 5, 2018

James Whale was left somewhat surprised on his talkRADIO show when former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith suggested the Irish border isn't really a problem per se.

Uncertainty over the border between Northern and southern Ireland continues to rumble on, with one senior EU figure telling the Financial Times this is the biggest potential "flashpoint" in the Brexit talks.

But Duncan Smith, who served in the British army in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, said "the border isn't the big problem. The problem is sorting out the inability of the parties in Northern Ireland to get together again and make something happen for the people of Northern Ireland."

The former cabinet minister also said that, if the EU wants to avoid friction over the Irish border in future, it should give the UK a free trade deal. If Brussels negotiators turn this into a "political game", he added, the people of Ireland will suffer.

Turning to the continued instability in the Tory party, Duncan Smith played down speculation of a future 'dream team' of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

"I don't dream of those things," Duncan Smith said. "If you have dreams like that I think you seriously need to go and see somebody."

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