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A DUP MP says Irish Border Problem is a 'Red Herring'

The big sticking point in the Brexit negotiations has been described as a "red herring" by one of the 10 Democratic Unionist MPs propping up Theresa May's minority government.

Sammy Wilson told the BBC World Service there was no "real problem".

Mr Wilson, the Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) MP for East Antrim and the party's Brexit spokesman, said: "This is a red herring that's been thrown in to either string out the negotiations until there's a change in government in the UK, or to make the price of leaving the EU the break-up of the UK, or to keep the UK in the customs union and the single market".

The MP pointed to comments from the Irish Taoiseach (prime minister), Leo Varadkar, who said he had been given assurances about the border by the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

In July Mr Varadkar said: "President Juncker and my EU colleagues have on many occasions said that they wouldn't require us to put in place a physical infrastructure and customs checks on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland."

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President Juncker's office refused to say whether he had made such an assurance, saying simply it would not comment on the ongoing negotiations.

Sammy Wilson added: "There's no real problem, as the EU have now confirmed. If they say in the event of no deal, we'll not be putting up any border, then what's the issue?"

What Problem?

It's difficult to know what lies or lines a drunken Jean-Claude Juncker may have said. But given that he will now not comment on things, an unusual state of affairs for sure, it's reasonable to assume he told some whoppers from the EU point of view.

Yet, ironically, that's a possible key to solving the mess.

What will the EU do if Ireland refuses to put a hard border in place?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock