Northern Ireland Protocol: EU Negotiations

Published date : 18 November, 2021
Notwithstanding recess dates, it took until 16 November even to get a written statement on this subject, and that turned out to be a copy-and-paste job from Lord Frost’s earlier statement. I am shocked and appalled that it has taken until today for a Minister to come to the House to do Members the courtesy of answering questions on behalf of the Government. I am sick and fed up of hearing excuses for why this Government allow others to hear the business of the Government and their thinking before they come here to explain it. How long can we be expected to tolerate this discourtesy?

We have yet another statement and yet another rattle of the sabre on article 16. Of course, the deployment of article 16 would simply invite an equal and opposite response from the European Union, and it would simply reconvene existing discussions in another forum. Whether or not Conservative Members want to hear it, the best way to eliminate friction from east-west trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is for Great Britain to come back into closer alignment with the single market and customs union. Will the Paymaster General assure the House that, whatever discussions lie ahead, the Government will not in any circumstances allow Northern Ireland to become subject to the same trade friction between north and south as they have allowed to creep into the relationship between Great Britain and the European Union?

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