Northern Ireland Protocol 'very different to what we envisaged', NI Sec. declares

13 February 2022, 12:48

By Seán Hickey

The UK was 'never given any reason to believe' the EU would check all goods entering Northern Ireland as part of the NI protocol, Brandon Lewis tells LBC.

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The Northern Ireland Secretary joined Tom Swarbrick as threats to collapse the NI Executive were quelled this week, following unrest over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol.

There was a standoff in the country after Agriculture Minister and former DUP leader Edwin Poots ordered an end to checks on goods entering Northern Irish ports, which was ignored by officers.

Read more: NI minister accused of breaching international law after order to halt Brexit food checks

Brandon Lewis argued that the protocol needs to be revised, as the EU's current implementation is too stringent.

"If you look at what the protocol says and what it's looking to achieve, these checks in the scale we're seeing at the moment shouldn't be happening", he told LBC.

Tom then made the case that the Prime Minister has broken promises about Brexit: "It was a lie for the Prime Minister to tell the DUP and Northern Ireland businesses that there would not be checks down the Irish sea, that no prime minister could stomach it – He could stomach it. he did it!"

Read more: Watch in full: Iain Dale interviews Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis

Read more: PM 'wasted £1m on Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge PR stunt'

Mr Lewis rejected the claim, noting that what is currently in place is "very different to what we envisaged before they started this implementation process."

"The EU has come in and decided that basically all goods are at risk."

"And the UK government never foresaw that?" Tom countered.

"We were never given any reason to believe the EU would want to treat all products as if they're at risk [pf entering the single market]."

Tom argued that in that case, "the Prime Minister has been ambushed by his own treaty?"

"No, not at all."

"The EU have taken action around the implementation of the protocol that does not match the reality of what the protocol is seeking to achieve."

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