Business Secretary says Northern Ireland Protocol is 'not set in stone'

22 July 2021, 08:29

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Business Secretary says Northern Ireland Protocol is 'not set in stone' as he reveals the government would like to renegotiate with the EU.

Nick Ferrari challenged Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng over the Northern Ireland Protocol amid reports it could cause chaos at the border.

The UK and EU agreed the Northern Ireland Protocol in 2019, as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

It prevents a hard border in Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU single market for goods.

The UK says its implementation has been "unbalanced" and is "unsustainable" in its current form.

"Why on earth did the United Kingdom sign it?" Nick asked.

Mr Kwarteng told LBC the deal which was struck always had the potential to be modified once it had been in place.

"We've reviewed the situation over the last few months and we think it could operate much more smoothly."

The Business Secretary said the government now wanted to "enter into a conversation with the EU" to make that happen.

"These things aren't set in stone," Mr Kwarteng told Nick.

The government said border checks on goods from Great Britain it signed up to in the 2019 Brexit divorce deal had proved unsustainable.

Brexit Minister Lord Frost said they risked harming business and were damaging the "fabric" of the UK.

Another layer of Brexit red tape associated with the Northern Ireland Protocol means health certificates on British sausages and mince are now required.

Nick then questioned the Business Secretary over the "lunacy" of some of the rules, which mean certain types of sandwiches require three different vets to sign off on them before they can enter the Republic of Ireland.