Boris Johnson vows he WILL tear up Northern Ireland protocol if the EU won’t act – and blames it for restricting No 10’s ability to tackle the cost of living crisis.
- The PM will stand firm on threat to ditch part of the Northern Ireland Protocol
- Boris Johnson will highlight problems in the province caused by the deal
- While in Belfast he will outline how it affects the availability of medicine there
Boris Johnson will stand firm today on his threat to ditch parts of the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland if the EU doesn’t back down.
The Prime Minister will highlight problems in the province caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol and vow to step in if Brussels fails to act.
On a visit to Belfast, he will outline how it affects the availability of medicine there and restricts the Government’s ability to help its post-Covid recovery and tackle the cost of living crisis.
The PM is set to discuss the Protocol with the leaders of the five main Stormont parties as he seeks changes to the agreement to allow the restoration of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive. Writing in the Belfast Telegraph today, Mr Johnson says: ‘We have been told by the EU that it is impossible to make the changes to the Protocol text to actually solve these problems in negotiations – because there is no mandate to do so.
Boris Johnson will visit Belfast for crisis talks after the DUP blocked the election of a Speaker at the Stormont assembly in protest at the Northern Ireland Protocol
‘We will keep the door open to genuine dialogue, and continue to protect the single market – as it has been throughout the existence of the Protocol – and the open border with the Republic of Ireland, which will always be of paramount importance. There is without question a sensible landing spot in which everyone’s interests are protected.
‘Our shared objective must be to create the broadest cross-community support for a reformed Protocol in 2024. I hope the EU’s position changes. If it does not, there will be a necessity to act.
‘The Government has a responsibility to provide assurance that consumers, citizens and businesses of Northern Ireland are protected in the long term.’
The Government has drawn up legislation to unilaterally suspend all border checks on goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to end the stalemate.
Last night, a source said advice received by the Government shows the Good Friday Agreement trumps the Protocol legally. ‘We would argue that it clearly trumps it politically and morally too,’ they added.
The source said Mr Johnson’s priority was to ‘restore the democratic institutions’ in Northern Ireland, not to ‘pick a fight with the EU’.
It comes after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was accused of being too ‘gung ho’ in her approach. But a source hit back at the claims, and insisted she wants to ‘keep this calm, not blow things up’.
The DUP warned yesterday that actions rather than words were required from the Government to break the Stormont deadlock.
Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: ‘Until that action is taken, the consensus necessary for power-sharing in Northern Ireland does not exist.’
EU leaders have warned of retaliatory measures if the UK acts unilaterally to suspend or change the Protocol. Yesterday, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney insisted the EU did not want a trade war, but said there would be a ‘consequence’ if the UK abandoned its international treaty obligations.
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