Brexit: Jacob Rees-Mogg weighs in on Northern Ireland Protocol
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Suella Braverman is understood to have advised the Prime Minister that legislation to overrule the Northern Ireland Protocol would not break the law. She says the implementation of the deal by Brussels is “disproportionate and unreasonable”, opening the door to action.
The Protocol was introduced as part of the 2019 Brexit withdrawal agreement, but ministers have since sought to renegotiate the mechanism due to the EU’s heavy-handed approach.
Ms Braverman agreed with Mr Johnson’s assessment that the approach being taken by eurocrats is undermining the Good Friday Agreement.
She argued the Protocol undermined the integrity of the United Kingdom by imposing bureaucratic customs checks of goods crossing the Irish Sea.
The attorney general argued the problems were causing serious civil unrest that risked a return to the dark days of The Troubles unless action was taken.
“There’s mountains of evidence that there’s a trade barrier down the middle of our country,” a Government source told The Times.
“Suella has argued that trade is being diverted.”
They added: “There are increasing signs of violence in Northern Ireland.
“That can’t be allowed to carry on.”
There have been outbreaks of violence and riots in the province since the Protocol’s implementation in January 2021.
There have even been hoax bomb threats, including one targeting Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister.
Northern Ireland’s parliament is also in stalemate with the DUP, the second latest party, refusing to enter a power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein until issues involving the Protocol are fixed.
“The Protocol is still harming many businesses in Northern Ireland and it is contributing to the cost-of-living crisis because the cost of goods coming in from Great Britain has been increased by transport costs, customs fees, delays, and that is not a sustainable position,” the DUP’s leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said yesterday.
“It has also altered our constitutional relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom without our consent so we need to get back to consensus politics.”
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Ms Braverman’s advice to the Prime Minister gives him the legal cover he needs to now introduce legislation to override part of the Protocol without the agreement of the EU.
Britain has been locked in talks with Brussels to try and find a solution to the problems caused by the deal since last October, but the EU has refused to renegotiate.
Ministers feel they are being left with no choice but to resort to the final option of acting unilaterally.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will hold crunch talks with the vice president of the European Commission alter today in a final bid to reach a consensus with the EU.
Ms Truss is expected to tell Maros Sefcovic that the dispute over Northern Ireland cannot drag on.
A No 10 spokesman said: “We absolutely haven’t given up.
“We are working extremely hard to find real solutions to this.
“But what is clear is that the EU’s proposals as they stand do not fix the underlying problems with the Protocol.
“In some cases they make things worse.”
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