Northern Ireland Protocol

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 5th November 2021.

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Photo of Lord Hay of Ballyore Lord Hay of Ballyore DUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the EU's negotiating strategy on outstanding issues regarding arrangements under the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

Photo of Lord Hay of Ballyore Lord Hay of Ballyore DUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) scale, and (2) cause, of trade difficulties at UK ports since the introduction of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

Photo of Lord Hay of Ballyore Lord Hay of Ballyore DUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the EU's response of 13 October to their request to alter the text of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

Photo of Lord Hay of Ballyore Lord Hay of Ballyore DUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether plans they have, if any, to trigger Article 16 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland unilaterally in order (1) to protect the Great Britain to Northern Ireland supply chain, and (2) to restore the integrity of the UK Single Market.

Photo of Lord Hay of Ballyore Lord Hay of Ballyore DUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union as it relates to the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland; and whether this role affects the sovereignty of the UK.

Photo of Lord Frost Lord Frost Minister of State (Cabinet Office), Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)

Implementation of the Protocol has led to considerable disruption in the movement of goods and clear diversion of trade. Traders of all sizes have faced additional burdens, supply chains have been disrupted, and costs increased. At least 200 companies in Great Britain are no longer servicing the Northern Ireland market.

We welcome the EU’s recognition that there are serious problems with the Protocol which need to be solved. We are currently engaged in a process of technical discussions with the European Commission in order fully to understand their proposals. However, it’s clear there is still a substantial gap between our two positions.

Governance is critical to ensuring that we have a balanced settlement that is durable in the long term. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) sits at the apex of a system in which EU laws are imposed on NI without consent. Addressing these problems is essential in order to ensure that any agreement can be supported by all communities in Northern Ireland.

We would prefer to settle these issues consensually and reach a positive outcome through negotiations. However, we have been clear that if an agreement cannot be reached Article 16 is a legitimate safeguard provision, the conditions for the use of which have been met.

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