Arlene Foster labels Northern Ireland border poll calls ‘reckless’
The EU reneged on the Brexit trade deal’s Northern Ireland Protocol last week after they threatened to impose export controls on coronavirus vaccines entering Northern Ireland. While the European Commission climbed down from triggering Article 16, enacting trade restrictions between the Irish countries, the Prime Minister has warned the EU against undermining the protocol.
Mr Johnson said on Twitter the Government’s “commitment” to Northern Ireland is “unshakeable”.
He added: “Recent EU moves have undermined the Protocol & understandably provoked concern.
“Let me underline that, now & in the future, Northern Ireland’s place in the UK will be protected and strengthened.
“What is needed is urgent action from the EU to resolve outstanding problems with Protocol implementation, so as to preserve the gains of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement & ensure that Northern Ireland benefits from Brexit just like every other part of our United Kingdom.”
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The Prime Minister has been urged by Tory MPs and Northern Ireland’s DUP to review the Protocol in the wake of the EU’s “hard border” threat.
The DUP have launched an official campaign attempting to axe the Brexit trade deal protocol, calling on Mr Johnson to “restore our place in the UK internal market”.
After the EU briefly triggered Article 16, the DUP believed the block has caused lasting harm and “compounded the notion that the EU is playing fast and loose with Northern Ireland, attempting on the one hand to require the UK
Government to enforce its obligations whilst being prepared to waive elements of the protocol when it suits the needs of the EU”.
The DUP has also warned both Dublin and London it will not take to the Republic of Ireland’s Government over the protocol, and said: “North south relations will be impacted.”
Ben Habib, former Brexit Party MEP also replied to Mr Johnson’s Twitter posts reminding him of the Internal Markets Bill row with the EU.
The Government stepped down from the controversial legislation last year, which originally sought to undermine the protocol and give UK ministers the ability to override the agreement with the EU before the clause was removed.
Mr Habib said: “The Protocol undermines the union of the UK. You know that.
“You said as much when you wrote about it on 12/9/20 in the Telegraph insisting the Internal Markets Bill as being necessary.
“A bill you and then dropped. Ditch the Protocol.”
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Michael Gove, Cabinet Office minister, shared the Government is seeking to lift unexpected Brexit controls in Northern Ireland.
He told parliament he would be addressing the extension of the 1 April grace period on checks on chilled meats, including British sausages, and “everything from pet transport to the provision of plants and seeds to gardens in Northern Ireland, and the daily life of our fellow citizens does need to be protected”.
The meeting comes after all Northern Irish and EU officials were withdrawn from duties conducting physical checks on goods from Great Britain over safety fears, following reports of “menacing behaviour” and graffiti threatening border officials.
Ireland’s Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, described the threats as “sinister and ugly” and added: “Obviously, we will be doing everything we possibly can to assist them to defuse the situation.”
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