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UK will 'safeguard' security in Ireland in event of no-deal Brexit, says Michael Gove

Michael Gove was speaking during a visit to Northern Ireland today.

Michael Gove is in charge of no-deal Brexit planning.
Michael Gove is in charge of no-deal Brexit planning.
Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

MICHAEL GOVE HAS said that the UK government will work to “safeguard” security on the island of Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

Gove, who has been charged by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson with no-deal planning, visited Middletown and Warrenpoint, as well as the border, during a visit to Northern Ireland today. 

Speaking to reporters at Warrenpoint Port, he said in the event of a no-deal Brexit “we will make sure that we safeguard the security of people on the island of Ireland, but also make sure that trade continues to flow as freely as possible”. 

Fears have grown since Johnson’s election as Tory leader that the UK is set to crash out of the EU on 31 October. 

Gove said that his visit was part of ensuring that “commerce can flow, that investment can be secure for the future and that jobs and prosperity can be safeguarded” if the UK does leave without a deal. 

Tensions between Ireland and the UK have grown in recent weeks as both the EU and the British government refuse to compromise on the Irish backstop, which has provoked major opposition from Brexiteers. 

Gove said he thought that UK and Ireland had “very good” bilateral relations. 

Northern Ireland is set to be worst affected by Brexit, whether the UK secures a deal or not. 

Last month, Johnson visit the region as part of a UK-wide tour to mark the first days of his premiership. 

Earlier this week, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also visited Northern Ireland and said that a no-deal Brexit is not an “unavoidable” prospect. 

The Guardian reported today that Boris Johnson’s chief of staff had cancelled all leave for government advisers until 31 October, with the Johnson also writing to all members of the civil service emphasising that the government’s main focus should be on preparations for a no-deal Brexit. 

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