New legislation will ‘fix problems’ with Northern Ireland protocol, says Brandon Lewis

·2-min read
New legislation will ‘fix problems’ with Northern Ireland protocol, says Brandon Lewis

New legislation will “fix the problems” with the Northern Ireland protocol, Brandon Lewis has said.

The legislation to alter the protocol, which governs Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements, will be introduced on Monday and is expected to inflame tensions with the EU.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Lewis said: “What we’re looking to do is fix the problems we’re seeing with the protocol, it’s around how the protocol has been implemented, the lack of flexibility we’ve seen from the EU over the last year and a half of trying to negotiate with them.

"At the moment, what the EU is proposing will send us backwards from where we are today. That isn’t sustainable – and every political party in Northern Ireland wants to see changes to the protocol."

He added this will restore "all aspects" of the Good Friday Agreement.

It follows nearly two years of negotiations with Brussels to try to resolve issues with the protocol, which was introduced prevent an Irish land border.

The protocol has imposed sweeping checks on imports from mainland Britain and has been blamed for significant trade disruption due to the new checks.

Britain has been warned that unilaterally pulling out of the protocol could raise the prospect of a trade war with the EU.

Meanwhile, Labour accused the Government of having “plans to break international law” with its proposal to scrap elements of Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade arrangements.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told Sky News: “It does look like the Government plans to break international law.

“This Government seems to be developing a record for lawbreaking and it is not one that the Labour Party can support.

“We helped bring in the Good Friday agreement, we are deeply, passionately committed to it.

“We want the Northern Ireland Protocol to work but we know to get it to work we have to negotiate and work with our European partners.”

She added that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had showed “the leadership that, frankly, is lacking from the Prime Minister” by visiting the island of Ireland over the last week, adding that Labour would pursue a veterinary agreement with the EU if it were in government.

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