Blair: Brexit puts NI peace process at risk

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The Good Fri Agreement is “at risk due to Brexit” after the UK leaves the particular EU, former prime minister Tony a2z Blair has told the BBC.

UK and Irish membership of the EU was “central” to the 1998 deal, he informed BBC Radio 4’s The World This particular Weekend.

Free motion on the border had been key to achieving an agreement, he said.

The Republic of Ireland’s Tá naiste (deputy prime minister) Claire Coveney warned against a hard border becoming the “collateral damage” of Brexit.

Mister Coveney, who is also Ireland’s international minister, told BBC One’s Toby Marr show that Northern Ireland in europe and the Republic of Ireland were “uniquely vulnerable and exposed to a possibly bad outcome” from Brexit.

“We cannot allow some type of collateral damage or unintended outcome of Brexit to [be] the recreation of a boundary on the island of Ireland, ” he stated.

Mister Blair said the prospect of a tough border posed “real challenges” towards the peace process and it was hard to see how the issue would be resolved.

The ex-PM, who assisted orchestrate the Good Friday Agreement, declared that the UK and Ireland’s EU a regular membership made it “easy” to appease nationalist feelings in 1998.

The free movement of people, items and an open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in europe was “part of that expression how the island of Ireland was together”, he said.

Yet there are concerns that Brexit could lead to the “hard border” like this seen before the Good Friday Contract – for example , by reintroducing traditions checks between the two countries.

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Conservative MP John Rees-Mogg insisted the UK government has been opposed to reintroducing a hard border — but said the Irish govt or EU could make a “political choice” to impose one.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “If the Irish and EU wish to impose the border that would be a matter on their behalf, but they don’t have to do it, it is a query of political choice. ”

Mr Blair said: “If you end up with a hard border, certainly that causes tensions.

“It doesn’t mean that you should abandon the great Friday Agreement, but it poses actual challenges to it. ”

He urged negotiators to get over the “conundrum” of creating a hard boundary between the UK and the rest of European countries, while preventing one from re-emerging between Northern Ireland and the Southern.

Brexit negotiators have got said that the Common Travel Area between two countries, which predates the particular EU, will remain in place.

‘Worst of both worlds’

Mr Blair mentioned Theresa May and Philip Hammond were trying to negotiate the “fundamentally unnegotiable” by leaving the EUROPEAN, while also trying to maintain preferential treatment in the EU’s common marketplace.

“They’re trying to discuss getting out of the single market, yet recreate all of its benefits, inch he said.

“That’s not going to happen.

“The risk is, frankly, you end up using a muddle and the worst of each worlds. ”

‘Centred on Brexit’

Mr Blair, who was speaking about casing policies proposed in a new document by the Tony Blair Institute for Worldwide Change , also blamed Brexit for distracting the government from the “huge problem” of housing supply.

“The whole of the politics class, as it were, is simply centered on Brexit, ” he mentioned.

He suggested a series of policies designed to tackle the particular housing crisis – including a brand new “land value tax” which would view the value of underlying land taxed rather than property.

He furthermore said there would be “no extra money” for the NHS through Brexit.

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Image caption Tony a2z Blair and the former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern signing the Good Fri Agreement in 1998

However , he mentioned Mrs May was “right” in order to criticise US President Donald Trump’s current tweeting of far-right videos .

He said it had been the “minimum” she could have mentioned – considering she needs to work with the US.

You can hear the full interview along with Tony Blair at 13: 00 GMT on Radio 4’s The entire world This Weekend .