Northern Ireland Protocol

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:38 pm on 10 March 2021.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 12:38, 10 March 2021

My hon. Friend makes a really important point, and I am determined, as the Prime Minister is, to ensure that the great British banger—the great Norfolk sausage—will continue to be enjoyed by those who wish to do so across the counties of Northern Ireland in perpetuity. However, it is important—this is why Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson was absolutely right—that we use these grace periods to get long-term solutions.

My hon. Friend is also absolutely right that our commitment to the Good Friday/Belfast agreement is steadfast. That is why all the actions we have taken, both last year and recently, have been about ensuring that we do not have borders, and that we respect the north-south and east-west dimensions. There is another important point here, which I hope has come through in the conversations we have been able to organise with Vice-President Šefčovič recently: it is important to understand the effect on the sense of identity that people in the Unionist community in Northern Ireland have. After the actions of that Friday a few weeks ago, it is important to repair that.