Northern Ireland Protocol: Implementation Proposals

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:45 pm on 18th November 2020.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union 12:45 pm, 18th November 2020

This morning, the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union took evidence from the Ulster Farmers’ Union, the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium and Manufacturing NI. Their message was clear: Northern Ireland businesses and the supply chain will not be ready for 1 January, because they do not know what to plan for, they do not know what goods will be identified as being at risk, and they are not confident that customs facilities, checks and software will be ready in time. As the Minister knows, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs itself says that it will not be possible to complete the necessary work by 1 January. Given the length of time the Government have had to prepare for the bits they do control, how on earth has it come to this?