Michael Gove slammed for claiming Brexit is done despite Northern Ireland protocol fight

·2-min read
(Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)
(Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

Michael Gove has been criticised for claiming Brexit is done despite a continuing fight over controversial plans to rewrite the Northern Ireland protocol.

The House of Lords is preparing to challenge the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill when Parliament returns after the summer recess.

Some peers are expected to go to battle over the legislation designed to give ministers the power to ignore crucial parts of the Brexit deal.

But former Leveling Up Secretary Mr Gove said on Thursday that one of Boris Johnson’s greatest achievements was getting Brexit done.

He told Times Radio: “I think it’s really important that we be clear about Brexit being done and that we get on with making the most of the freedoms and the benefits that accrue to us.”

He added: “I think the thing with Northern Ireland protocol is it was always envisaged that it would be a temporary solution to a set of complex challenges on the island of Ireland.

“I think with goodwill, they can be overcome. I think that there’s an understanding both between Britain and the EU about the sorts of changes that need to be made in order to ensure that the situation improves.

“And then when it comes to some of the broader questions, we know that there are freedoms that we can undertake outside the European Union on everything from free ports...some of the changes that we can make in technology...through to ways in which we can establish new medical cures more quickly.”

But the suggestion was slammed by some MPs.

Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Layla Moran MP said: “The Conservative’s botched deal with the EU is bad for British families, bad for British businesses and bad for British jobs.

“It has done damage to small businesses up and down the country, it’s astonishing that Gove thinks this botched job is over when there is still so much left to fix.

“We need an approach that works for the UK, cutting red tape, reducing costs for businesses and making people better off as a result.”

The NI protocol bill passed through the House of Commons earlier this year summer with no amendments, but it faces challenges in the upper chamber. It will likely be first major parliamentary test of the new prime minister, who will be announced on Monday.