The Shadow Northern Ireland Minister, Stephen Pound, has warned that the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland would be “dead” if Brexit led to the return to a “hard” border.
Pound was speaking at an event organized by the mainstream Irish Republican group, Sinn Fein, on the sidelines of the Labour Party conference in Brighton.
Speaking to Channel 4 News, Pound delivered an 80 second diatribe against a hard border that has since gone viral over multiple social media platforms.
The Labour MP for Ealing North equated Brexit to a “life and death” issue for the people of Northern Ireland and questioned whether technological solutions at the border (proposed by the Tory government) could solve security-related problems.
Noting that there is a 302-mile border between the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of the north, with 282 separate crossing points, Pound surmised that the border would have to be fully protected in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“If you put a camera on a pole you create a target – and you have to defend that”, Pound said.
The shadow northern Ireland minister added: “If you defend that you then have to defend the defenders. And where are we? After that the Good Friday Agreement is dead”.
Pound’s highly charged intervention comes amid renewed calls for a border poll, or an Irish Unity referendum, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
On September 22, Sinn Fein vice president, Michelle O’Neill, said that a no-deal Brexit is “incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement”.