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Brexit border-prep official who found ‘no magic solution’ to avoid hard border in Ireland resigns

Brexit border-prep official who found ‘no magic solution’ to avoid hard border in Ireland resigns
A senior British official who had been charged with Brexit border preparations has abruptly left the role, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) confirmed on Thursday.

Karen Wheeler had said earlier this year that there was “no magic solution” that would make the post-Brexit Irish border problems go away and allow the island to avoid a hard border.

“There is no technology solution which would mean that you could do customs controls and processes and not have a hard border,” she said. Many of the technologies that are available which could help to some extent “would take years to implement,” she told the Belfast Telegraph in April.

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To maintain free movement of goods across the border in Ireland, post-Brexit UK would need a customs union arrangement with the EU and “something that looks like a single market, which has no customs or tariffs or regulatory standards or controls.”

Wheeler was thanked for her “outstanding work” in helping prepare the UK for Brexit by Jonathan Thompson, HMRC Chief Executive, Reuters reported. The statement cited “retirement” as the reason for Wheeler’s departure, rather than any Brexit-related reason. Wheeler had only been in the position since July 2017.

Thompson said Wheeler’s replacement would be announced “in due course.”

A senior British official who had been charged with Brexit border preparations has abruptly left the role, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) confirmed on Thursday.

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