Boris Johnson made the admissions whilst being grilled by the Commons Liaison Committee, outlining several difficulties faced by people in Northern Ireland since is Brexit deal came into force. He told MPs: “You’ve got a very difficult situation in which vital drugs have not been able to be moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. 30 drugs including cancer drugs. I think about 200 companies have stopped shipping stuff. There have been impediments to the movement of guide dogs, of parcels, of potted plants, of tractor parts.
“And I think I’m right in saying that Asda doesn’t actually have Asda shops in the Republic of Ireland, yet as the goods that are coming into Northern Ireland have all to be checked.”
Mr Johnson described Jewish people leaving the region because they were struggling to source kosher food as an “exodus” – a word that comes from the second book of the Old Testament and Torah where Israelites escaped from centuries of slavery in Egypt.
He said: “Only yesterday there were very serious representations from the Jewish community in Northern Ireland who pointed out that because of the problem with the food sector it was becoming difficult for them to have timely access or any access to kosher food.
“And they’re talking about an exodus from Northern Ireland by the Jewish community.
“Now clearly we’d do everything we can to avoid that, and to sort it out, but it’s going to take our friends in the Joint Committee to make some movement.”
Mr Johnson launched a furious attack against the EU by claiming Brussels is implementing the Protocol n a “grossly disproportionate and unnecessary” manner.
The Prime Minister added the UK had agreed to checks on goods moving from Great Britain out of “neighbourliness” in an effort to ensure there was no return of a hard border with the Republic.
But in a major admission, he said: “We also agreed unfortunately that the EU could have a say in how this was done.
“I think what we all need to do is work rapidly on some solutions, fix this thing fast.
“I think it will take some effort but we really can’t exclude any actions that the UK Government may need to take to protect what it says in the Protocol.”
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Boris Johnson has been warned the UK is “losing” British nationals to Europe as they take up citizenship in European countries.
Tory MP Bernard Jenkin explained the UK used to export talent across the European Union and is now “severely threatened”.
He questioned Boris Johnson if he was able to speak to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about visas for musicians and artists in Europe.
Speaking to the Liaison Committee, Mr Jenkin said: “I think I would have liked the chance to ask Chancellor Merkel who wants to stop cultural exchange which is one of the objectives of her visit.
“The answer is the European Commission.
“We would not stop visiting artists coming to our own country but we are losing people from London permanently.
“They are going to take residence in other European countries with European citizenship because they can’t pursue their careers by staying in London.”
Michel Barnier has taunted Boris Johnson by claiming the UK quit the EU without “understanding the consequences” – and warned him: “You’re on your own”.
The bloc’s former chief Brexit negotiator accused Britain of “putting up barriers”, while appearing to suggest it would be “screwed” outside the single market.
Mr Barnier, who is widely tipped to be considering a tilt at the French Presidency next year, made his controversial remarks during an appearance on Figaro Live yesterday during which he discussed the implications of Britain leaving the EU.
Asked about the possibility of the UK’s economy collapsing after Brexit, Mr Barnier said: “I don’t want that and I don’t think it will happen because it’s a great nation.
“But they left the single market, without having fully understood all the consequences, so they created barriers.
“Instead of eliminating barriers, they created them.
“Now they are out and all goods coming from the UK have to be checked to protect European consumers and businesses.”
7.50am update: Starmer demands Boris take personal responsibility for making Protocol work
The Labour Party leader has accused the Prime Minister of putting “his own narrow interests” above those of the people of Northern Ireland.
He said the Prime Minister’s “reckless and foolish” approach to the Good Friday Agreement was a risk to the peace process.
Writing in The Times ahead of a planned visit to Northern Ireland today, Sir Keir said: “I am sad to say that, after nearly three decades of slow but steady progress, we now have a Prime Minister who has put his own narrow interest above those of the people of Northern Ireland.
“We have a Prime Minister who has refused to take responsibility for his decisions, who is risking through his dishonesty, the stability of the peace process.”
“The Prime Minister personally negotiated the Northern Ireland Protocol and he has a personal responsibility to make it work.”