Michael Noonan on Boris Johnson's "contradictory" EU stance

The Finance Minister doesn't believe Boris can have his cake and eat it...

boris, johnson, brexit, claims, finances, jobs, creation

Boris Johnson addresses supporters at a Vote Leave meeting at the Centre for Life in Newcastle | Image: Owen Humphreys / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has questioned leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson's claims that the UK can continue to have free trade and access to the EU's single market.

Noonan called Johnson's proposals "contradictory", pointing to the precedent set by Norway as proof that maintaining trade relations with the EU post-Brexit will come at a cost.

The Minister said:

"[Norway] had to pay the levies that countries pay to the European Union, and as well as that, they had to give free travel and free labour market movements.

"From the precedence it doesn't look as if that option is open. But I can see why he's saying it; even though the positions are contradictory, that's what he campaigned on."

In his regular Daily Telegraph column, the former Mayor of London wrote:

"I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be.

"There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment.

"EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU. 

"British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. As the German equivalent of the CBI – the BDI – has very sensibly reminded us, there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market.

"Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defence to counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing – all the things we need to do together to make our world safer. "

Minister Noonan has also moved to allay fears that the EU would now be targeting Ireland's 12.5% corporation tax rate.

He said there was "no pressure" on the country to change our rate.

Speaking at the National Economic Dialogue in Dublin Castle this morning, Noonan said:

"It's very hard to say at this point what the ultimate effect of Brexit will be because it depends on what alternative arrangement is put in place."

The Department of Finance has previously estimated that the UK leaving the EU could cost Ireland between €2.5bn and €3bn over the next two years.