It's just over 100 days since the UK finally left the EU. However, for every day, Northern Ireland has been almost entirely forgotten. Critical issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol have been swept under the carpet as 'teething problems' and now the EU is pushing a compromise which would see the entire UK tied to EU regulations for decades to come. This shows the EU has learnt nothing over 4 years and will never accept a free UK, argues Jayne Adye, Director of Get Britain Out.

Ever since Theresa May disastrously agreed to the EU's negotiating schedule in 2017, the problem of Northern Ireland was set in stone as the EU's ace in the hole. They knew they could take advantage of old debates to undermine a true Brexit. First, this resulted in the Irish Backstop and then the marginally better Northern Ireland Protocol. This was a measure the Prime Minister told exporters mattered so little, they could throw any forms they received for moving goods into Northern Ireland 'in the bin'.

This proved to be far from the truth and as it stands, despite the UK Government delaying the implementation of some checks, we have still seen food shortages across Northern Ireland's supermarkets, and the ridiculous notion of soil from Great Britain not being allowed into Northern Ireland on the tracks of a digger. There can be no misunderstanding, despite what the Prime Minister has claimed. Northern Ireland is still effectively inside the EU and as a result, cut off from the UK.

For example, since January, a massive 20% of all EU Certificates of Inspection (COI) have been issued at Northern Irish ports, even though Northern Ireland accounts for less than 0.01% of EU trade. This is not about protecting EU border integrity from harmful goods from Great Britain, it is a ham-fisted attempt to break up the UK and prevent a real Brexit.

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However, despite this deliberate division of our country by a foreign power, the Prime Minister continues to do little to counteract this. Talks are supposedly ongoing over both border checks and the recent ongoing violence in Northern Ireland, however, on both counts these are being undertaken by juniors of the Prime Minister, including Cabinet Office Minister, Lord Frost and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis. Surely when it is a matter of keeping the UK intact, the Prime Minister should be dealing with these issues personally, not simply hoping they go away after he delegates responsibility.

This week it has been reported that a compromise with the EU is close over checks on goods going from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. The fact we have to negotiate with a foreign power about moving goods within our own country is bad enough, but the EU has proposed that if we want to remove the majority – not even all – of the checks they demand, the UK needs to accept following EU animal welfare and food laws permanently. In other words, abandon independence.

However, the blows do not stop here because not only would such an agreement stop the UK making our own rules, we would be restricting our own ability to sign trade deals with other countries. This would effectively give the EU a VETO on any future trade deal we sign, because if the country does not meet EU standards – which they could amend at any stage in the future with no input from the UK, then we would not be allowed to import their products. A major example of such a country would be the USA, with whom the UK is already in detailed trade negotiations.

The Northern Ireland Protocol as it stands is a complete betrayal of the UK, carving off Northern Ireland to the EU in all but name. Not only this, but the Protocol clearly contradicts the Good Friday Agreement it was supposedly created to protect, with politicians in Northern Ireland given no ability to consent to laws they will have to follow – a principle which was key to its signing.

We need a fresh agreement with the EU over Northern Ireland's future. Simply adapting and editing the Protocol will do nothing to solve intrinsic problems which sit at its core. No longer should the European Court of Justice rule over Northern Ireland, no longer should we accept having to ask the EU's permission to move goods within our own country, and no longer should we accept that every EU Law – past and future – will apply to Northern Ireland when they have no say in their creation. This is already a Protocol which betrays the concepts of Brexit. To allow this to go further and accept the EU's attempts to blackmail the UK into further sacrificing our sovereignty, would be a catastrophic mistake for the Prime Minister. Boris promised to 'Get Brexit Done' for the entire UK, but so far, he has failed abominably.

18 votes

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