Any unilateral action by the UK Government on the Northern Ireland Protocol would undermine efforts to find long-term and sustainable solutions to the challenges posed by Brexit, Alliance MP Stephen Farry has said.
The Alliance Deputy Leader was speaking after media reports the Government would propose legislation enabling them to override the Protocol. The North Down MP said any such move would be “counter-productive and damaging”.
“Any unilateral action around the Protocol, whether triggering Article 16 or scrapping some or all of its provisions, would be counter-productive and damaging,” he said.
“The Protocol exists to reflect the choices made by the UK Government on Brexit. There are of course challenges arising from Brexit and the implementation of the Protocol. Businesses need pragmatic and sustainable solutions, and crucially they must be legal. That only comes outcomes being mutually agreed through negotiation and agreement between the UK and the EU. Already, we have seen a significant breakthrough on the flow of medicines.
“Across Northern Ireland, the core issues remain the cost of living crisis and the state of the health service. To see the Government pandering to the narrative of extreme unionism or the unicorn thinking of the ERG does not reflect the concerns of the majority of the people in this region.
“Unilateral action won’t solve anything. But it would lead to the UK once again breaking international law in terms of violating the Withdrawal Agreement it negotiated and signed. It would send a poor message regarding the international rule of law, undermine the trust necessary to find long-term solutions, create divisions at a time when unity in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine is so crucial, and risk a damaging trade war between the UK and EU.”