Brexit: Frost discusses missed ‘opportunity’ to end NI Protocol
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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson lashed out at the EU for its implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the House of Commons. He suggested there were similarities between the international treaty and Moscow’s barbaric invasion of its democratic neighbour as he renewed calls for ministers to rip up the deal.
“The last piece of advice we would ever give to a sovereign nation like Ukraine is to seed control of part of its territory to a foreign entity,” he told MPs.
“And yet those who advocate the Protocol advocate precisely that.
“Large degrees of the laws of Northern Ireland, regulations, are imposed by the European Union.
“I and my colleagues have no say whatsoever in how those regulations are drawn up.”
His comparison sparks audible gasps from MPs in the House.
Unionists blame the Protocol for undermining Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom.
The deal effectively keeps the province in the EU’s single market, with it forced to continue to abide by rules and regulations made in Brussels.
Customs checks must also take place on goods crossing the Irish Sea from Britain, causing frictions to trade.
Confronting Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, Sir Jeffrey asked what action the Government was taking to restore Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market.
Mr Lewis said the DUP leader had made an “important point”.
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He added: “The Protocol itself in its vision and its outline in its opening pages is clear that we won’t disrupt the every day lives of people and their communities.”
The minister warned if the EU failed to renegotiate the Protocol the Government was willing to use Article 16, the legal means of suspending the terms of the agreement.
Mr Lewis said: “We keep everything on the table.
“We want to get a resolution by agreement with the EU that respects all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.
“If we can’t do that then we will need to take action to ensure we are delivering on the peace and prosperity of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”
Britain has been locked in talks with Brussels over renegotiating the Protocol since last October.
Originally, the Government said it would trigger Article 16 after three weeks if no deal was struck.
However, more than six months later the UK has still not taken action to unilaterally end the treaty’s implementation.
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