Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland: EU Proposals - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:02 pm on 21st October 2021.

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Photo of Lord Frost Lord Frost Minister of State (Cabinet Office), Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet) 12:02 pm, 21st October 2021

My Lords, obviously the protocol is part of the withdrawal agreement but that does not prevent its being reopened and renegotiated separately. The same is true of any treaty; it is possible to negotiate part and not the whole thing. On the Article 16 question, obviously the Article 16 provisions in the protocol are nearly sui generis. There are very few parallels for them anywhere else. The scope of how they may be used remains to be tested. What is clear is that they are safeguards to deal with an evolving and difficult socioeconomic situation and the issue of trade diversion. When and if we take action under Article 16, obviously that will be the purpose of any action. As I say, though, we hope to come to a consensual agreement rather than having to go down that road.