February 20, 2018 / 3:51 PM / a year ago

Johnson says UK can leave customs union and have no hard border in Ireland

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, listens during a visit to a Metropolitan Police wildlife crime unit in London, Britain, February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain should be able to leave the European Union’s single market and customs union and still ensure there is no hard border in Ireland after Brexit, Foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

Johnson was responding to a question in parliament about why he failed mention Northern Ireland once in a major speech he gave on Brexit last week.

“There is no reason whatsoever why we should not be able to exit both the customs union and the single market, whilst maintaining frictionless trade not only north-south in Northern Ireland, but with the rest of continental Europe as well,” Johnson said.

“That is exactly what this government will be spelling out in the course of the coming negotiations,” he added.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison

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