Borders: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Office written question – answered on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the Government’s unilateral declaration on consent of 19 October 2019, what steps the Government has taken to establish a democratic consent process to determine the application of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is underpinned by the right of Northern Ireland to withdraw its consent from the continued application of EU law.

The detail of this arrangement is set out in the Government’s Unilateral Declaration of 17 October 2019. This sets out that the first consent decision will be taken in the two months before the end of the first four-year period after the end of the implementation period.

If the Assembly votes by simple majority against continued alignment, then Northern Ireland’s alignment with EU law will come to an end two years later. If the Assembly votes in favour of continued alignment, then Northern Ireland’s alignment with EU law will continue.

If this decision is made on the basis of a simple majority, a further consent decision will be required within four years. If the decision is made on the basis of cross-community support, a further consent process will be required within eight years.

Arrangements for the implementation of this arrangement will be set out in due course.

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