Northern Ireland

Brexit: NI secretary has 'strong commitment' to open border

James Brokenshire Image copyright PA
Image caption James Brokenshire has replaced Theresa Villiers as Northern Ireland secretary.

Northern Ireland's new secretary of state has said there should be no border controls between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

James Brokenshire said the Common Travel Area pre-dated the countries' membership of the Common Market.

He said he had already had conversations with Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Mr Brokenshire has replaced Theresa Villiers as secretary of state.

'Strong commitment'

He said it was "an absolute priority for me that we don't see border controls coming into place.

"Indeed, I think there is a very strong commitment from the Irish government as well as ourselves to see that that doesn't happen".

The new secretary of state said he had an important role as discussions on Brexit developed "in advocating very firmly in the the heart of government in terms of the best interests of Northern Ireland".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Theresa Villiers quit the government after being offered a role "which I felt I could not take on"

Mr Brokenshire said his previous experience of visiting Belfast had been "very positive", and he would be travelling to Northern Ireland on Monday.

You can see Mark Carruthers' interview with the new secretary of state in full on Sunday Politics Northern Ireland on BBC1 at 11:35 BST.

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