July 3, 2022

Vanthuluutru

Fine Art Of Business

UK Ready to Unilaterally Change Northern Ireland Protocol

3 min read
  • A minister has said the UK “won’t shy away” from ripping up the Northern Ireland protocol.
  • Brandon Lewis was speaking ahead of Liz Truss’ statement to MPs to set out plans for new legislation.
  • Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, told Truss to “get back to the table” instead.

A minister insisted the UK “won’t shy away” from scrapping the Northern Ireland protocol, ignoring warnings from Ireland that this would breach international law.

Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, denied plans had been delayed after an alarmed response from Dublin and Washington, saying there had been no intention to put the full legislation before parliament this week.

But he told Sky News the UK would not “shy away” from bringing forward legislation unilaterally, adding: “We would like to do that by agreement with the EU but we reserve the right to do what we need to do to do the right thing for the people of Northern Ireland and the wider United Kingdom.”

He stressed the scale of checks imposed on goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland “as if they were going into the EU”, saying: “That just doesn’t work and there are products that can’t travel that way.”

Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, has set out plans for new legislation to allow the government to ignore parts of the border agreement.

Its aim is to to stop checks on goods entering from Britain and to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the territory.

The timetable for Truss putting forward the legislation has slipped: originally the bill – known internally as UKIM2 – was due to be set out this week, as previously reported by Insider.

Now sources told Insider it was likely to come some time before parliament’s summer recess around the end of July.

Other sources pointed to fractures forming between Number 10 and the Foreign Office, with frustration at the more provocative approach taken by Truss, who one insider said had been “nowhere” in negotiations.

A unilateral move is likely to put the government on a collision course with both its own backbenchers, many of whom rebelled over previous efforts to overwrite the Brexit agreement. It could also worsen relations with the EU and the US.

Having previously told Maros Sefcovic the UK had “no choice” but to act unilaterally, Truss spoke with Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign affairs minister, on Monday night to discuss the UK’s position. 

“I made clear that breaking international law is not the answer to solving protocol issues,” Coveney said Tuesday morning. 

“The EU/UK negotiating teams haven’t met since Feb. Time to get back to the table.”

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, travelled to Belfast on Monday where he met with leaders of the various parties, including the DUP, which wants the protocol to be scrapped entirely, as well as Sinn Fein, which recently became the largest at Stormont in terms of seats for the firs time in its history.

During his visit, Johnson gave a glimpse of some of the UK’s plans, saying: “We would love this to be done in a consensual way with our friends and partners, ironing out the problems, stopping some of these barriers east-west.

“But to get that done, to have the insurance, we need to proceed with a legislative solution as well.” 

https://www.businessinsider.com/minister-uk-ready-to-unilaterally-change-northern-ireland-protocol-2022-5

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