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Threat to trigger Article 16 a Sword of Damocles hanging over negotiations, says Farry

The threat to trigger Article 16 is a Sword of Damocles hanging over UK-EU negotiations, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP has said.

The North Down MP was responding to a statement by UK Government Brexit Minister Lord Frost. Dr Farry said the use of Article 16 would do nothing to address any issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“The threat to trigger Article 16 dangles as a Swords of Damocles over the current UK-EU negotiations,” he said.

“Yet its use will do nothing to address the issues around the Protocol, and will only bring greater instability and uncertainty for Northern Ireland, while sparking wider confrontation with the EU that would only damage the overall UK economy. 

“I would strongly refute Lord Frost’s argument he is acting in the best interests of Northern Ireland. The majority of people do not support the triggering of Article 16 and instead support pragmatic solutions to the problems posed to Northern Ireland by Brexit. The business community want stability and certainty, not something that would question Northern Ireland’s place in the Single Market for goods. 

“The proposals from the EU last month offer the basis for agreement. They are not the finished article but represent a workable basis for negotiation. Instead, the UK, under Lord Frost, seem more interested in distraction, confrontation, and hard ideology, all best represented by the new red-line of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, which was barely raised by an issue by local stakeholders.”