Liz Truss grilled over ‘timescale’ of Protocol
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Liz Truss has said a new law would be introduced to change the post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland. The foreign secretary insisted the bill would be legal under international law.
Boris Johnson’s Government agreed the trade deal – which governs how goods enter Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK – with the European Union in 2019 after the Brexit vote.
Baroness Kate Hoey spoke to GB News’ Mark Steyn and said: “If they really dislike the United Kingdom so much, shall we look at the common travel area and change it?
“Because the Republic of Ireland gets much more benefits from that than other EU countries.
“I get quite annoyed sometimes, we see a huge amount of criticism of our Government and from the Irish government and from Irish members of their Parliament.
“The fact that devolution has stopped means the legislation has to be tabled and enacted.”
But a row over its impact on trade has created a block on forming a devolved government in Northern Ireland.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has refused to join the power-sharing administration until reforms are made to the deal, which it says treats Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the UK.
In Parliament, Ms Truss said the proposed law would not scrap the deal but make limited changes, such as freeing the movement of UK-made goods from “unnecessary bureaucracy” and regulatory barriers.
But in response to Ms Truss’s statement, the EU said it would “need to respond with all measures at its disposal” if the UK went ahead with the legislation.
Ireland’s foreign affairs minister, Simon Coveney, said the unilateral action from the UK was “damaging to trust”.
Ms Truss told MPs in response to “the grave situation in Northern Ireland”, there was a “necessity to act to ensure institutions can be restored as soon as possible”.
She said the UK’s preference remained a negotiated solution with the EU in consultation with its negotiator Maros Sefcovic, who has been invited to London for more talks.
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If a resolution cannot be reached, the UK would take steps to “cement provisions” that are working in the protocol, while “fixing those elements that aren’t”.
She continued: “The Government is clear that proceeding with our legislation is consistent with our obligations under international law.”
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