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UK Needs Customs Union to Avoid Hard Border in Ireland - Ex-PM

The advocates of Britain leaving the European Union have to realize the extent of the ‘collateral damage’ this will cause in Northern Ireland, John Major warned.

Speaking at the Irish embassy in London on Thursday, the Conservative ex-Premier said that unless Britain stays in a customs union and has regulatory alignment with the EU, border checks will be required for food, animals and animal feed by law.

“If so, a physical border seems unavoidable,” Major said. “And, since the border winds through over 300 miles of countryside, this may require a number of border posts to be erected,” he added.

John Major believes that Britons have “every right” to a second referendum after they were “misled” by campaigners during the first one, The Guardian wrote.

Britain's former Prime Minister John Major gives a speech on Brexit in London - Sputnik International
Former British PM John Major Mounts Explosive Attack on Brexit
He also warned about the potential of border checks border checks to “divide communities that are now united,” lead to protests from “fringe groups – either unionists or nationalists” and ultimately bring about “a downward spiral towards violence.”

While admitting that EU customs union may have its own downsides, he still described them as “heavily exaggerated.”

Prime Minister Theresa May earlier said that she was now absolutely determined to fully withdraw the country from EU customs union within wider Brexit process.

“My absolute determination to make a success of Brexit, by leaving the single market and customs union and building a new relationship with the EU partners that takes back control of our borders, our laws and our money," May wrote in an op-ed for The Sun newspaper on Sunday.

UK Business Secretary Greg Clark has warned, however, that thousands of British jobs could be lost if no customs partnership is established between the UK and the EU.

READ MORE: UK Prime Minister Signals Determination to Leave EU Customs Union Post-Brexit

Britain is expected to leave the European Union by the end of March 2019, but London has been seeking a two-year transition period to smooth out the exit, as well as guarantees of a future relationship with the bloc.

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