BORIS JOHNSON believes concerns over the potential negative effects of Brexit have been over-exaggerated and that it's "beyond belief" that discussions over the Irish border are dictating the ongoing talks.
The UK Foreign Secretary expressed his concerns in an audio recording obtained by Buzzfeed News in which he hit out at the focus on Northern Ireland.
Johnson labelled worries about the potential introduction of a hard border as "pure millennium bug stuff" during a speech at a closed-door gathering at the Institute of Directors in London.
"It's so small and there are so few firms that actually use that border regularly, it's just beyond belief that we're allowing the tail to wag the dog in this way," he said.
"We're allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly."
The UK government is keen to avoid a hard border and honour the Good Friday Agreement in place.
However, it also looks likely the UK will depart both the single market and customs union as part of Brexit.
That move could result in the introduction of customs checks and passport verification on people and goods moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
As yet, there are no clear plans in place that would allow the two approaches to coexist.
Johnson previously suggested the introduction of a contactless Oyster card style system on the border, like the one used to tag on and off the London Underground.
The UK government minister was also recorded praising Donald Trump, noting that "there is method in his madness" while suggesting the UK would have been better served in Brexit negotiations with the US President at the helm.
"There'd be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he'd gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It's a very, very good thought."