Let the Irish shoot each other’ – UK’s Brexit backers reach a new low

Stanley Johnson

The father of British politician Boris Johnson has suggested that the Irish should not be allowed to get in the way of Brexit and should be left to shoot each other if that’s what they want to do.

Stanley Johnson, who is himself a former Member of the European Parliament, was speaking on daytime television about the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Negotiations about the withdrawal agreement have centred on solving the problem of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. If Britain leaves without a trade agreement there may have to be customs checks, but Ireland, the EU and the UK all agree that there should be no hard border with checkpoints because that would undermine the Good Friday Agreement, which has maintained peace for the last 20 years.

The problem is how to provide customs checks if they become necessary without a hard border. So far, no proposed solution has proved acceptable to all sides and with time running out, the campaigners backing a hard Brexit have become increasingly frustrated.

That frustration has led many to unwittingly reveal that they know little about Ireland and care even less.

Boris Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary, who resigned because he didn’t like the Brexit proposals put forward by Prime Minister Theresa May has described Ireland as a “gnat of a problem” threatening to derail the Brexit process.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen recently showed his ignorance by asserting that as an Englishman he was entitled to an Irish passport… simply not true.

Now Stanley Johnson has waded into the argument. A few weeks ago, he showed his ignorance when he claimed there had never been a hard border, somehow forgetting the shootings and explosions during the Troubles.

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He said: “It’s absolutely ludicrous, there’s never been a hard border in Ireland. I’m sure there won’t be a hard border. There are plenty of countries in the EU where one country is in the EU and another country is not… And they don’t shoot each other.”

“So why we can think that Ireland is going to be such a disaster, I don’t know.”

Now he’s gone one further. While being interviewed on Good Morning Britain, he praised Margaret Thatcher’s attitude towards Northern Ireland saying that she would have been happy to let the “Irish shoot each other”.

“She would have said that it’s quite intolerable that this whole question of the Northern Ireland border has come to dominate the decision about the future of our country.

“She would have said: ‘Look, if the Irish want to shoot each other, they will shoot each other – whether there’s a hard border or a soft border. That is something the Irish will do if they want to.’ Mrs Thatcher would not have had any truck with this scheme by the EU to elevate the border question into a way of making sure we stay in the EU.”

The remarks have caused outrage both in Ireland and UK.

Interested in discovering more about your Irish roots? This free online genealogy course with Strathclyde University shows you how to trace your family tree and also covers the use of DNA testing in genealogical research.

Did you know?

Brian Boru is known as the last High King of Ireland and is even credited with seeing off the Vikings who had terrorised the Irish for over 200 years. Find out more.

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