Monday, April 19, 2021
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Johnson: NI Protocol not operating as envisaged

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Boris Johnson has said the Northern Ireland Protocol is not operating in the way he envisaged.

The Prime Minister said he did not think arrangements he agreed with the EU would involve restrictions on the movements of food products such as sausages, on parcel deliveries and on soil from Great Britain entering Northern Ireland.

He said the protocol was operating in an imbalanced way and was causing irritation to the loyalist and unionist community in Northern Ireland as a consequence.

In a virtual press conference on a visit to the region, Mr Johnson said: “It needs to be corrected, you can’t have a situation in which soil or parcels or tractors with mud on their tyres or whatever are prevented from moving easily from one part of the UK to another – it’s all one United Kingdom.”

He said the protocol was an act of “good neighbourliness” by the UK towards Ireland and the EU to stop goods moving into the single market in an “uncontrolled way”.

During Brexit negotiations, debate centred on which products from Great Britain were at risk of continuing from Northern Ireland into the rest of the EU tariff-free.

The UK argued that goods like supermarket deliveries intended for Northern Ireland should be exempted from extra paperwork and declarations.

Mr Johnson said the protocol was necessitating more processes and checks than it should and that is why the Government moved to delay its implementation until longer term solutions are found with the EU.

“What I didn’t want to see was loads of checks on stuff going from GB to NI in such a way as to interrupt trade and to confuse and irritate people,” he said.

“I didn’t want to see barriers to the circulation of sausages and tractors with mud on their tyres and all the rest of it, and nor did I think that would be necessary and I think that’s why we put in the easements we have, because I think it’s sensible for there to be some balance in this and I think there’s a commonsensical way forward and that’s what we want to have.”

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