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What is in Jeremy Corbyn’s leaked Northern Ireland document?

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Jeremy Corbyn presents the “official, sensitive” Northern Ireland document to journalists

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Labour leader claims Treasury slideshow proves border between NI and rest of UK

One-Minute Read The Week Staff
Friday, December 6, 2019 - 3:21pm

Jeremy Corbyn has produced a leaked government document that he claims proves Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal will create a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The Labour leader said that the document, marked “official, sensitive”, provided the “cold hard evidence” that Johnson had been “misleading” people about his Brexit deal, says the Belfast Telegraph.

“We have now caught Johnson red-handed misrepresenting his own Brexit deal,” Corbyn told a press conference. “This is cold hard evidence that categorically shows the impact a damaging Brexit deal would have on large parts of our country.”

What’s in the document?

According to Corbyn, page five of the document says: “There will be customs declarations and security checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”

“It is there in black and white. It says there will be customs declarations, absolutely clearly, for trade going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain,” Metro reports.

The 15-page Treasury slideshow, titled Northern Ireland Protocol: Unfettered Access to the UK Internal Market, also claims that the vast majority of business in Northern Ireland will struggle to meet the costs associated with the deal.

The document says that high street prices in Northern Ireland will likely go up, hitting businesses’ profits and potentially leading to the loss of jobs in key employment sectors, including retail.

Corbyn said the document gave a “damning picture” of what Northern Ireland could expect if Johnson’s Brexit deal went ahead.

The slideshow is marked “official, sensitive”. “Official” is the lowest security classification a document can be given, and is routinely put on documents produced by the public sector. “Sensitive” is not a classification, but a handling instruction to the reader of the document to treat it with care.

What has the reaction been?

Corbyn said the document “drives a coach and horses through the Prime Minister’s claim that there will be, in his words, no border in the Irish Sea… it’s simply not true.”

Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly said Corbyn is once again “brandishing leaked documents that don’t back up his wild conspiracy theories”, says The Sun.

“This is just another desperate attempt to distract from his refusal to take a position on the biggest issue of the day,” he added.

Cleverly did not deny the validity of the document or its contents.

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