On the most recent edition of Ireland’s Late Late Show, Alastair Campbell reiterated the paramount importance of the Good Friday Agreement with regards to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
“The Good Friday Agreement was put together extremely carefully and there were a lot of difficult compromises that were made on the way,” he said, while debating the issue with Nigel Farage who, unsurprisingly, had a different point of view.
“The truth is that British politicians didn’t care about it, Boris Johnson didn’t give a damn about it, Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that the Irish should think about joining the UK and then leave the European Union. There is no concern in British politics about the impact that Brexit will have on Ireland and you lot need to play hardball on this.”
Since the British public voted in favour of leaving the European Union, we have seen no shortage of politicians trying and failing to blag their way through conversations about the most important decision in modern British politics, but Andrew Bridgen’s latest statement is something else.
Bridgen is a Conservative member of Parliament for north-west Leicestershire and a member of the European Research Group (ERG) – a Eurosceptic research support group for the Conservative Party. In January 2018, Jacob Rees-Mogg was elected as the ERG’s chairman.
When asked if he was committed to the idea that Northern Ireland would not be treated any differently to the rest of the UK, Bridgen was then reminded of the party line which stressed the fact that even after Brexit, the people of Northern Ireland will still be allowed to be EU citizens – under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
“Well, that’s the common travel area as well, isn’t it? We do have the right to go over to Ireland, don’t we? As an English person, I do have the right to go over to Ireland and I believe that I can ask for a passport. Can’t I?” he said.
After being reminded that this has absolutely nothing to do with his rights as an English person, Bridgen stated: “There’s a reciprocal agreement where I can go to Ireland and ask for an Irish passport and someone from Ireland can come to the UK and ask for a British passport. We have that system. That’s the system we have, isn’t it?”
Bridgen then reaffirmed his belief that he can come over and ask for an Irish passport and citizenship.
Have a listen to their staggering conversation below; you can listen back to the show in full here.