John Redwood lashes out at EU over Northern Ireland protocol
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Belfast yesterday, May 16, to attend talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) regarding the protocol that came into effect in January 2021. The Brexit deal binds Northern Ireland to certain EU rules despite the UK leaving the bloc.
In recent days, Boris has said the Brexit deal is “turning into a political problem” that needs to be rectified.
The Brexit deal was aimed at avoiding checks on goods crossing the border with the Republic of Ireland, but has led to checks on goods arriving into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
The Tories have proposed overriding parts of the protocol, but have been met with resistance from the EU who is demanding they stick to the agreement signed in 2019.
As a response, Brussels is said to be threatening a trade war with the UK in retaliation to their pledge to amend the agreement.
The protocol protects the EU Single Market by erecting a full customs border in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and by imposing a full raft of EU commercial regulations on goods produced in Northern Ireland.
There are also limits on Northern Ireland changing VAT rules and production subsidies.
The purpose of the treaty was to avoid starting forming customs infrastructure at the land border on the island of Ireland.
Former Brexit minister Lord Frost has told how Boris Johnson and the UK government got themselves into a position of agreeing to a “deeply flawed” treaty with the EU.
Writing in Spiked, Mr Gudgin said: “The EU’s problem is that it took advantage of the disarray in the UK parliament in 2019 to push through an agreement which was bound to greatly annoy Northern Ireland’s Unionists.
“All in all, another fine mess – but one that the UK government could be about to get a grip on.”
It is expected that the cabinet will sign off on a plan to introduce new legislation that gives power to UK ministers to override important parts of the protocol, with the likelihood of a retaliation from the EU high.
Just yesterday, the PM was booed as he arrived at Hillsborough Castle to meet with the DUP by protestors.
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Following recent elections where Sinn Fein topped the polls, it was revealed a majority of assembly members accept the protocol as is.
Sinn Fein leader Mary McDonald said: “He has connected with the DUP to use Ireland, the north of Ireland, to use unionism in Ireland as a pawn in a wider game that is being played out with the European Union. That is clearly a shameful tactic and approach and it’s one that is absolutely not acceptable.
“We’re not one bit naive as to what’s happening here – it is very clear that the Tory government in London is in cahoots with the DUP to stall and to hold back progress, to frustrate the will of the people as expressed in the election and that, to anybody who calls themselves a democrat, is clearly unacceptable and clearly shameful. And that case will be made to Boris Johnson.”
Boris is hoping to unveil the UK’s “next steps” on the protocol “in the coming days” but is set to face resistance from the EU.
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