Northern Ireland: Coburn clashes with Sammy Wilson over protocol
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The Northern Ireland Protocol, which requires checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, has been a source of tension since it came into force at the start of 2021. Lambasting over the commission, the audience member said: “I don’t know what’s changed since I went to school but Northern Ireland was always a part of Great Britain, so for the EU, to start negotiating and introduce this border, what’s it got to do?
“We don’t have a problem with stuff going from England to Wales or England to Scotland, so as Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain why should we have this border?
“Why don’t someone grow up here and tell the EU to go and sling their hook?
“Because it is part of Great Britain, it is not part of the EU.
“Southern Ireland is but Northern Ireland ain’t.”
The European Union has warned that if the UK takes action it could retaliate by introducing trade sanctions.
The UK and the EU agreed that protecting the 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal – the Good Friday Agreement – was an absolute priority.
So they agreed to the Northern Ireland Protocol as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, which is now part of international law.
The EU says renegotiating the text of the protocol is out of the question, but set out new proposals, including an 80 percent reduction in checks on food products arriving in Northern Ireland and halving the amount of paperwork.
The commission has also asked for reducing the customs information firms need to provide passing legislation to allow the trade in medicines between GB and Northern Ireland to continue, relaxing rules so chilled meats, such as sausages, could still be sent across the Irish Sea.
In return, the EU wanted extra safeguards to prevent products from Great Britain crossing into the Republic of Ireland.
The UK rejected this offer, saying it would “worsen the current trading arrangements”.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK would be “taking action to stabilise the situation in Northern Ireland if solutions cannot be found”.
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Her Cabinet colleague Michael Gove said negotiations would continue, but “no option is off the table”.
The UK has previously said it could trigger Article 16 of the protocol.
This is a set of three paragraphs that allows either side to suspend any part of the agreement causing “economic, societal or environmental difficulties”.
However, this could risk retaliation from the EU, and a possible trade war.
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