Brexit deal ‘unworkable’ and could tie UK to EU rules forever– lawyer issues dire warning


James Webber, a legal adviser to the European Research Group of Tory MPs, described the mechanism as an “unexploded ordnance” and said it should be replaced as a matter of “extreme urgency”. The Northern Ireland Protocol was created as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement in order to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The compromise has tied Belfast to the EU single market and customs union, while the rest of the UK is not.

Since January, it has resulted in issues with the flow of goods via Northern Ireland and ignited a huge row between the UK and EU.

Brussels has started legal action against the UK after Boris Johnson took the unilateral decision to extend grace periods on agricultural goods until the winter.

Earlier this year, the European Commission temporarily triggered Article 16 – an emergency part of the protocol – to suspend the flow of goods to Northern Ireland after a dispute broke out over vaccine supplies.

MEPs are also yet to formally sign off the historic Trade and Corporation Agreement which was agreed on December 24, 2020.

Mr Webber condemned the creation of the Northern Ireland Protocol on Thursday as he gave evidence to the Commons International Trade Committee about the state of the “level playing field”.

A so-called “level playing field” was agreed between both sides in the Brexit deal and was pushed by the EU to prevent the UK from undermining EU markets.

The situation becomes more complex in Northern Ireland as the protocol insists the UK must adhere to EU regulations if state support given to UK firms is deemed to affect trade across the Irish border.

Speaking to the committee, Mr Weber gave the ludicrous example of carmakers in Sunderland being bound by EU rules if vehicles are then sold in Northern Ireland.

He said: “So you could have Nissan in Sunderland, not in Northern Ireland, subsidised to produce a new battery vehicle.

“One of those battery vehicles coming for sale in Belfast – that’s a sale that was lost to Volkswagen [and] you’ve affected trade north and south.

“Therefore, the subsidy in Sunderland is also caught by the Northern Ireland protocol.”

READ MORE: Infuriatiating EU rules preventing medicine from reaching UK soil

He added: “That’s why I describe it as unexploded ordnance. I mean, the whole thing is completely unworkable, and should have been replaced by the [Trade & Cooperation Agreement] regime for subsidy control.”

Talks between the UK and EU remain ongoing to solve the problems and the Prime Minister has threatened to take action if the EU refuses to ditch “absurd” aspects of the arrangements.

Speaking on the BBC NI’s Spotlight programme, Mr Johnson said: “If we can’t make enough progress and if it looks as though the EU is going to be very, very dogmatic about it and we continue to have absurd situations so you can’t bring in rose bushes with British soil into Northern Ireland, you can’t bring British sausages into Northern Ireland, then frankly I’m going to, we’ll have to take further steps.


Sturgeon warned independence will be more costly than Brexit [INSIGHT]
Megxit peace talks HALTED as Palace furious at ‘Meghan and Harry leaks [LIVE]
UK weather forecast: Charts turn orange as 19C heat to bake UK [FORECAST]

“What we’re doing is removing what I think of as the unnecessary protuberances and barriers that have grown up and we’re getting the barnacles off the thing and sandpapering it into shape.”

German Europe Minister Michael Roth has this week doubled down on the position of the bloc and called for the protocol to be introduced in its entirety.

He said: “It remains crucial that all parts of the withdrawal agreement are fully implemented, including the protocol on Northern Ireland.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.