Northern Ireland: Truss to set a strategy for a post-Brexit trade pact

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will outline the UK government’s plans for revising Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade pact.

It comes after the Prime Minister claimed the arrangement, which governs the entrance of goods in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, may be scrapped.

Boris Johnson’s cabinet reached an agreement in 2019.

However, a disagreement over how it will be implemented has stymied the formation of a Northern Ireland administration.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) will not participate in Stormont power-sharing unless the Protocol is altered.

Ministers, according to Sinn Féin, are allowing the DUP to “hold society to ransom.”

The Northern Ireland Protocol, which was designed with an intention of preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland connected with the EU single market for goods, received a majority of votes in the Stormont elections on May 5.

However, the DUP is stalling the formation of an executive until their objections to the pact, which imposed extra restrictions on goods transiting between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, are addressed.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told the BBC on Tuesday morning that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to dealing with the protocol’s flaws, as the government sees them.

He claimed that the protocol was affecting individuals and businesses in Northern Ireland, and that if they needed to legislate, they would not hesitate.

Mr Lewis described the government’s proposal of a “green lane,” in which certain products that stay within the UK internal market are not subject to the same scrutiny as those that go to the EU.

On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet will convene before the Foreign Secretary makes a statement to MPs in the House of Commons.

She will outline how the government intends to alter the regulations governing goods movement between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, as well as how it intends to override aspects of the Brexit agreement.

However, the government is not anticipated to present any draft legislation, and the EU has warned that if it does, it would face consequences.

Ms Truss spoke with the foreign minister of Ireland, Simon Coveney, and European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic on Monday evening.

She emphasised the significance of restoring the Northern Ireland Executive and honouring the Good Friday Agreement, which established the principles for power-sharing in Stormont and has kept Northern Ireland peaceful since 1998.

Mr Sefcovic later stated that rather than taking unilateral action, the UK could take advantage of the EU’s “flexibilities” within the trade deal.

“Practical challenges stemming from the protocol’s implementation in Northern Ireland may be handled with political will,” he remarked on Twitter.

Engaging with them on the flexibility they provide would be better than acting unilaterally. They were ready to play their part, as from the outset.

Mr Johnson said the UK government would move forward with legislation to reform trade rules after meeting with the five main parties of Stormont, on Monday.

They would love to accomplish that in a collaborative fashion with their friends and partners, working out the challenges and removing some of those east-west boundaries, he said.

However, in order to get it done and have the insurance they require, they must also pursue a legislative solution.

Ashton Perry

Ashton Perry is a former Birmingham BSc graduate professional with six years critical writing experience. With specilisations in journalism focussed writing on climate change, politics, buisness and other news. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and media freedom, Ashton works to provide everyone with unbiased news.