NI Protocol 'absolutely devastating' for the region, Arlene Foster tells LBC

7 March 2021, 13:39 | Updated: 7 March 2021, 14:20

Arlene Foster: EU hysteria around protocol affecting NI unionists

By Joe Cook

The Northern Ireland protocol, implemented as part of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, has been “absolutely devastating” for the region, the country’s First Minister has told LBC.

The contentious protocol was designed to avoid a hardening of the border on the island of Ireland, with Northern Ireland remaining in the EU single market for goods.

However, DUP leader Arlene Foster told Swarbrick on Sunday there was a “real need to replace the protocol”, which she claims “has been absolutely devastating” for people in Northern Ireland.

Read more: Lord Frost calls on EU to 'shake off any remaining ill will' over Brexit

Ms Foster said reports that white and electrical goods could become more expensive in Northern Ireland due to new EU green rules was “yet another example of how the protocol is really impacting on the everyday lives of people”.

“I think this is something that really does need to be concentrated on to get a replacement to the protocol,” she told Tom Swarbrick.

The DUP has rejected claims it is whipping up tensions over Irish Sea trade in an effort to get Brexit's contentious Northern Ireland Protocol ditched.
The DUP has rejected claims it is whipping up tensions over Irish Sea trade in an effort to get Brexit's contentious Northern Ireland Protocol ditched. Picture: PA

The comments come at a tense time in relations between the EU and UK governments.

The European Commission have said they will launch legal action after the UK announced it was extending a series of "grace periods" designed to ease trade between Northern Ireland.

The intervention provoked a furious response in Brussels, with the EU accusing the UK of going back on its treaty obligations in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

The Northern Ireland first minister told LBC: “I welcome the small moves that have been taken this week by our own government, but as you have seen, the reaction from the European Union has been one of hysteria and they are talking about taking legal action and all sorts of things.”

Read more: Liz Truss is 'very hopeful' of UK striking post-Brexit trade deal with the US

Ex MI6 boss: Brexit has damaged the UK's security

She added: “I think the European Union - I mean I attended the last joint committee that was meant to deal with these issues - was showing no flexibility at all. Therefore the government did have to act to protect the internal market of the United Kingdom.

“The European Union are very focused on protecting their single market, which is the European single market, but they don’t mind at all that it is damaging the internal market of the UK.

“I welcome the fact that the government did move, but there is much more to do and actually the architecture of the protocol itself needs to be dealt with.”

Read more: Education Secretary details strict testing regime ahead of return to schools

Read more: Government has a 'moral duty' to give NHS staff more than 1% pay rise, Lisa Nandy says

Trucks leave Larne Port in Northern Ireland.
Trucks leave Larne Port in Northern Ireland. Picture: PA

The prime minister said the current stand-off with the European Union about trade regulations in Northern Ireland was "bound" to happen.

Asked about Lord Frost telling Brussels to stop sulking at Brexit, Boris Johnson told broadcasters: "I think this is one of those issues we were always bound to have in the early stages of our new relationship with our friends in the EU and the various technical issues we are going to iron out.

"I'm full of optimism about the future and the partnership we are building," he said on a visit to a vaccine centre in north London.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Dreamland theme park, Margate, Kent

22 teens suffer suspected overdose at Kent gig as 17-year-old dies

Jack Black has cancelled the rest of his Tenacious D tour after his bandmate Kyle Gass made a comment on the assassination attempt on Donald Trump on stage on Sunday night.

Jack Black cancels tour over Tenacious D bandmate's Trump assassination comment

Police have been called to Grand Hyatt Erwan Hotel in downtown Bangkok

Mystery as six people found 'poisoned' in luxury five-star hotel in Bangkok ahead of Russian summit

TV chef Naomi Pomeroy died in a tubing accident in Oregon

Top US TV chef killed in horror accident on notoriously dangerous river in Oregon

Angela Rayner dismissed the comments made by Trump's would-be Vice President.

Angela Rayner hits back at Trump running mate after 'Islamist UK' comment

Strictly Come Dancing is reportedly considering hiring chaperones for celebrity stars after misconduct claims against two professional dancers.

Strictly Come Dancing could 'hire celebrity chaperones' after two professionals accused of misconduct

Police confirmed the human remains belonged to missing teen Jay Slater after a 29-day search

Jay Slater's mother pays tribute to 'beautiful boy' after body confirmed as that of missing teen

King Charles will lay out Labour's plan for government in the King's Speech.

What will be in Keir Starmer's first King's Speech and what does it mean?

Jamie Howlett is a serving police constable at the Metropolitan Police Service

Serving Metropolitan Police officer charged with sexually assaulting two children and raping adult

Body found in Jay Slater search is missing Briton, police confirm

Body found in Jay Slater search is that of missing Briton, police confirm

Police paused their search for Jay Slater two weeks after he vanished.

Madeleine McCann detective hunting Jay Slater breaks silence after ‘deteriorated’ human remains found in search

Children have been ‘left to fend for themselves’ when parents sent to prison (right stock image)

Children 'left to fend for themselves' when parents sent to prison – because authorities 'don't know about them'

The Spanish Civil Guard said Jay Slater, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, could have fallen in a steep and inaccessible area

Jay Slater's best friend Lucy Law pays heartbreaking tribute to 'happiest' person after his ‘deteriorated’ body found

Victoria Thomas-Bowen appears at Westminster Magistrates' Court today after Nigel Farage was drenched in a banana flavoured drink

OnlyFans model, 25, to stand trial after denying throwing a McDonald’s milkshake over Nigel Farage

Jay Slater was 'killed instantly' after falling from height in Tenerife family believe

Body found in hunt for Jay Slater was 'very deteriorated' as Tenerife officials reveal key details

Prince William hailed Southgate as a "true leader" in a touching tribute to the coach.

'A class act': Will and Kate share touching tribute to Gareth Southgate as England boss resigns