Govt 'don't know what they're doing' on NI Protocol, Tory peer insists

16 May 2022, 21:50

Conservative peer on NI protocol management

By Seán Hickey

A lack of joined up thinking from government on the Northern Ireland Protocol is because 'they frankly wish it'd go away', this Conservative peer tells LBC.

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Lord Ed Vaizey was on Monday night's Cross Question panel when the political stalemate in Northern Ireland came up.

The DUP have refused to nominate a Deputy First Minister following the Stormont elections, citing issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol as a key concern for their voters.

Boris Johnson has arrived in Belfast for talks with the party leaders in a bid to solve the issue. The Prime Minister has offered reforms of the Northern Ireland Protocol along with other proposals to bring stability back to Northern Ireland.

Read more: Boris Johnson 'wasn't even aware' of Stormont electoral process, NI politician claims

The former Culture Minister took exception to the PM's move: "That [the NI Protocol] is what Boris Johnson and the Brexiteers have delivered and now they don't want to live with it."

He worried that any aspect of the agreement being replaced with domestic UK legislation will be "very damaging for our reputation" globally.

Read more: Ripping up Northern Ireland protocol would be 'fraught with danger', says Andrew Marr

Labour MP calls for 'pragmatism' in NI Protocol renegotiations

Iain then pointed out that in an essay, the Prime Minister seemed to contradict the intentions of his Foreign Secretary on the Protocol.

"They actually don't know what they're doing, do they?" Lord Vaizey fumed.

"On this particular issue, they frankly wish it'd go away because they're not prepared to grip it, because it's their fault."

Pushed on whether he believed the government agreed to the protocol just so they could get Brexit done, the Tory peer said "totally".

"We've all done that" he said, telling the Cross Question panel "we've all tried to get ourselves out of a hole, buried our heads in the sand and hoped the problem would go away – unfortunately you're the British government and it doesn't quite work like that!"