Former DUP deputy leader Lord Dodds of Duncairn has demanded that the Government release a full list of the EU laws to be scrapped in Northern Ireland as part of the new Windsor Framework.
The unionist peer said that, if the Government refuses to release this list, there is a “danger” that people will believe this is because the “vast bulk” of laws applying to the EU single market and customs union will remain in effect in Northern Ireland.
His comments came as Tory grandee Lord Cormack, former chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs select committee, said that this new Brexit deal will be the “best they will ever get”.
Lord Dodds said: “I would be grateful if [the minister] could commit to putting in the library or writing to me with a list of the actual laws and regulations that have been disapplied, not generalities.
“Because by not giving us the list of those rules – which they must have if they know that it’s 1,700 pages and it’s swathes, they must have the list of laws and regulations – and in not publishing, I feel they are running into the danger of allowing people to think that the reason that they’re not publishing the list is because the vast bulk of the laws in Annex 2 of the actual protocol, which apply to the single market and custom union rules of the EU to Northern Ireland without consent, will remain.
“And that the Stormont brake, such as it is, with all its defects, does not apply to them.”
Minister in the Northern Ireland Office, Lord Caine, said that there were “too many” disapplied laws to list in full at the dispatch box and that the situation is “more complex” than simply handing over a list of disapplied laws.
He said: “The Windsor Framework disapplies swathes of EU law in Northern Ireland, too many to list here in full.
“We have published the full range of legal text that underpin this new agreement.
“It completely carves out whole areas of EU law on issues like VAT, medicines and food in a way the EU has never done before.
“It means that it is UK laws and standards that apply and a UK Parliament that decides what those rules should be.”
He added: “I do apologise that I can’t give [Lord Dodds] a definitive number at this stage; he’ll appreciate that I’m not an expert in EU law and I have no intention of becoming one.
“But my understanding is that the situation is somewhat more complex than just adding together a list, because there will of course be some directives that are in part still applied in respect, for example, of the red channel, and disapplied in respect of the green channel.
“But I can assure him that, for example, Annex 1 of the EU regulations covering SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) rules to accommodate Northern Ireland that I have here, actually 67 EU rules that are now disapplied.
“I will take back what he said about trying to publish a definitive list, but I say, the situation is slightly more complicated than just adding together one list.”
Lord Cormack encouraged all Northern Irish politicians to get behind the Windsor Framework, saying: “It is quite clear that this brilliant achievement by the Prime Minister deserves widespread support.
“And would the minister not agree that those who wish to serve the people of Northern Ireland would be far better recognising that this is the best they will ever get and making it work?”