Northern Ireland 'feel sense of betrayal' says Reverend
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The EU has asked the UK to align its plant, food safety, animal health and environment rules to those of the European Union. In return, EU Commission officials said they were willing to ease checks on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland.
As well as this, the bloc is also willing to relax rules on the pet passport scheme allowing pets to travel more freely over the Irish Sea.
However, the UK is maintaining a hardline after the return of Lord Frost, who was appointed Cabinet Office Minister responsible for Brexit last month.
Whitehall sources told Express.co.uk the UK “would not simply cave or bow down” to the EU’s proposal, which the bloc branded “dynamic alignment.”
One official added: “We need respect for our sovereignty, it’s not an appropriate idea at this time but we will work with the EU to find a workable solution on a level playing field basis.”
The UK has called on the EU to adopt measures that would only involve checks based on the risks identified with the goods.
In order to prevent a hard border in Ireland, Northern Ireland remains part of the EU single market with checks made on certain products arriving from the rest of the UK.
But tensions regarding checks have reached boiling point in recent weeks.
Loyalists staged protests against the so-called border in the Irish Sea following Brexit, claiming the Northern Ireland Protocol has undermined the region’s place within the Union.
A group of former political and religious leaders urged the Prime Minister to “step up” to tackle the recent Brexit-related violence.
In a letter, the cross-party group of senior figures urged Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis to “urgently create the space for local politics to regain the initiative” in Northern Ireland.
The signatories include former NI secretaries of state Lord Hain, Lord Mandelson, Lord Murphy of Torfaen and Shaun Woodward, as well as former chief constable Sir Hugh Orde.
They said without change there was a very real risk things could “fall over” in Northern Ireland.
Brussels hardball tactic obliterated by damning new financial report [LATEST]
Laurence Fox says jabs should be sent to India not ‘elitist’ Brits [INSIGHT]
Over-30s expected to be offered Covid jabs within days [REVEAL]
Mr Johnson was also warned recent unrest “will not literally burn itself out over time”.
The letter, seen by Express.co.uk, continued: “While the violence is unacceptable, the fact is that there are grievances, real and perceived, within the broader unionist community and that cannot be ignored by the UK Government.
“There is a strong sense within loyalist and unionist communities that no one is listening to them, and that nobody in authority in Whitehall has been honest with them about the consequences of Brexit.
“The most immediate step is therefore for the Government, at the highest level, to be seen to take an interest.
“As a matter of urgency, the Government must address the outworking of the protocol with Brussels.”
The letter said Mr Johnson and Mr Lewis “also need to rebuild trust with Dublin, which has been badly damaged and to breathe fresh life into the British Irish intergovernmental process that is a key part of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement”.
It added: “The lesson of the past 50 years or more in Northern Ireland is that, if there is no forward movement, things do not stand still: they fall over.”
“It is the responsibility of the UK Government to ensure that does not happen because there is nothing more dangerous than a political vacuum.”
However, any agreement is expected to be tricky due to large divisions within the bloc with EU Commission Maros Sefcovic under pressure from hardliners.
A UK Government spokesman said: “We continue to be open to an arrangement based on equivalence, but we are clear that the UK cannot accept a veterinary agreement that is based on dynamic alignment with EU rules in perpetuity.”
Source: Read Full Article