BORIS JOHNSON has been caught on camera offering a confused and, at times, contradictory defence of the Brexit deal he negotiated.
The Prime Minister was filmed describing his Withdrawal Agreement as a “great deal” for Northern Ireland because they retain “access to the single market”.
Johnson's comments, highlighting the apparent benefits of the exit terms he negotiated, were taken from a speech given to Conservatives in Northern Ireland.
In the speech, he said: "When you come out of the EU Customs Union which is what we've done you have to have some way of checking that goods going from the United Kingdom into Ireland that might attract a tariff pay that tariff if there is to be a tariff.
"The only place you can do it if you don't do it at the border is at the border in Northern Ireland.
"There will not be tariffs or checks on goods coming from GB to NI that are not going on to Ireland - that's the whole point.
"And the great thing that has been misunderstood about this is there will not be checks - I speak as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a passionate unionist - there will not be checks on goods going from Northern Ireland going to the United Kingdom because we're the government of the United Kingdom and we will not implement or enact such checks.
"Actually Northern Ireland has got a great deal you keep freedom of movement, you keep access to the single market but you also have - as it says in the deal - unfettered access to GB."
Boris Johnson either doesn’t understand the deal he has negotiated or he isn’t telling the truth. Probably both. pic.twitter.com/fvqh7PWPjS
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) November 8, 2019
Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer attacked Johnson's comments for failing to understand the deal he negotiated and being deliberately misleading.
"Boris Johnson either doesn’t understand the deal he has negotiated or he isn’t telling the truth. Probably both," he said.
Fellow Labour MP David Lammy added:"Boris Johnson describes keeping free movement and access to the single market as a "great deal" for Northern Ireland. His terrible withdrawal deal denies both to the rest of the UK.
"Under the terms of deal customs checks will be required on goods going from the UK into the EU."
Tom Brake, the Lib Dems’ Brexit spokesman, also criticised Johnson's claims and apparent praise for some of the key facets of EU membership.
“The single market and freedom of movement are a great deal – even Boris Johnson recognises this," he said.
“So why isn’t he keeping them for the whole of the UK as part of the many benefits of EU membership?
In order to prevent border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic these will actually happen when goods from the rest of the UK arrive in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland and the Republic would still share some EU single market rules though, with requirements likely to include checks on any manufactured and agricultural products crossing the Irish Sea.