Northern Ireland businesses exporting to mainland Great Britain will have to complete export declaration documentation to trade inside their own country, revealed Brexit Secretary, Stephen Barclay.
Mr. Barclay was appearing before the European Union Select Committee on Monday afternoon when he made the comment.
"The exit summary declarations will be required in terms of NI to GB," said Mr. Barclay.
This answer was an attempt by Mr. Barclay to correct a statement he made a few minutes earlier when he explicitly said NI businesses exporting to mainland Great Britain would not have to complete such documentation.
"We’ve said in terms of [trade] from NI to GB that it will be frictionless and so there wouldn’t be [declaration forms]," said Mr. Barclay in response to a question put to him by Labour Party peer, Lord Wood.
Lord Wood said the revelation means the border in the Irish Sea will "feel like a real border".
"This revelation confirms two things. 1. The GB-NI border inside the UK will, from a commercial point of view, feel like a real border. 2. The Govt is trying to push through a vote on the deal before the text of the Withdrawal Bill is seen for a reason: the contents are alarming," tweeted Lord Wood.
DUP MP for East Antrim, Sammy Wilson, suggested the revelation was evidence of a border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
"Clear breach of UK Government commitment in Joint Report of 2017 to allow unfettered access to GB market for NI businesses," tweeted Mr. Wilson.
"How can any Conservative & Unionist MP argue this does not represent a border in the Irish Sea?!," he added.