Irish ministers distance themselves from tweet comparing Johnson to Cromwell

Irish ministers have distanced themselves from comments made by a government colleague who compared Boris Johnson to Oliver Cromwell.

In a tweet, which he later deleted, Minister of State Michael D’Arcy said the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend Parliament was “perhaps the most anti-democratic decision since the Protectorate government, which Oliver Cromwell set up, was established”.

Minister for Business Heather Humphreys said: “First of all, Minister D’Arcy has removed that tweet.

Minister for Business Heather Humphreys and Communications Minister Richard Bruton outside Dublin Castle
Minister for Business Heather Humphreys and Communications Minister Richard Bruton outside Dublin Castle (Cate McCurry/PA)

“As far as we are concerned, we are not going to comment on internal British politics.”

Minister for Communications Richard Bruton said: “We are not going to get involved in British politics because they have a lot of decisions to make.

“Undoubtedly, the decisions that they make will have a big impact on us and we need to give them the time and space to do that.”

Mr Bruton said Mr Johnson’s decision to suspend the House of Commons created a greater risk of a hard Brexit.

“Very clearly, the issue of resolving this is in Boris Johnson’s court and I think we await the developments in British politics,” he said.

“I think it’s very difficult to see the political hyping of the issues and the clock ticking away and a lot of political positioning rather than working on the details of how resolutions can be found.

“I think that’s disheartening and it does make the risks greater. That’s undoubtedly the case.”

Ms Humphreys said that while there would be no checks on the border with Northern Ireland, there would be checks elsewhere to protect the Customs Union and the Single Market.

She added: “There will be some checks … in terms of SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) checks, there will be checks at some stage.

“We’re talking to the European Commission, we’re trying to find solutions.

“This is not easy. But what we’re saying to businesses, you treat the UK as a third country in terms of the no-deal Brexit, that’s what you have to do, (and) World Trade Organisation rules apply.

“We have told businesses to prepare for the worst possible outcome while we negotiate and continue, through the EU, to find the best possible solution for Ireland.”

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