Northern Ireland

Ian Paisley 'Irish Cow' claim quoted by Boris Johnson

Former First Minister Ian Paisley
Former First Minister Ian Paisley

Boris Johnson has quoted Ian Paisley in support of a proposal to establish an all-Ireland agri-food market after Brexit.

During questions from the press in Yorkshire yesterday Mr Johnson quoted the former first minister when asked if he was pushing an all-Ireland regime for agri-foods post Brexit.

During a meeting with with Tony Blair in 2001 Mr Paisley, a former DUP leader, said that "Our people may be British but our cows are Irish" when arguing that livestock in the north should be exempt from the restrictions on movement in the UK.

Mr Johnson said: “That is what Ian Paisley said.

“He said that the people were British but the cattle were Irish and in that idea there is the germ of a solution to the question of frictionless cross border movement across the northern Irish border.

“We do want to minimise all theoretical checks as well as practical checks."

Meanwhile, it has emerged that secretary of State Julian Smith clashed with Mr Johnson over the issue off suspending parliament.

Details were contained in documents released by order of a judge IN Scotland.

Mr Smith has confirmed that he was not consulted about the plan to suspend Parliament before ministers were told.

Minutes of a conference call between the two men on August 28, which have been marked sensitive, show that a minister, believed to be Mr Smith, warned Mr Johnson that the timetable for the proroguing of parliament would impact on the sitting days to pass the Northern Ireland budget bill.