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Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons on 18th March 2020.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is in, and remains part of, the United Kingdom’s customs territory. The protocol makes that clear. It ensures unfettered market access for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, and the arrangements we introduce will reflect that. We will discuss the implementation of the protocol with the EU at the joint committee later this month.

Photo of Wendy Chamberlain Wendy Chamberlain Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Development), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

At a time when many people have sadly been thrown into economic turmoil, it is incredibly important that wherever the Government can eliminate economic uncertainty, they do so. There is no area more clouded by uncertainty due to our departure from the EU than the Irish border and its regulatory future. Given that the Government have committed to doing “whatever it takes”, will the Secretary of State commit to removing that uncertainty by extending the Brexit transition period by one year?

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I do not think that anyone around the United Kingdom would thank us for extending the period. The election was very clear in giving us a mandate to deliver on our manifesto pledge to leave the European Union, and we are determined to do that. The certainty that we can give to business is that Northern Ireland is, will be and will always remain part of the United Kingdom’s customs territory and will have unfettered access.