Northern Ireland Protocol: Expert on US ‘interference’
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Liz Truss announced earlier May plans to introduce legislations overriding parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which keeps the country in the EU Single Market and erects customs borders with the UK. The EU and Dublin have pushed back on the UK’s attempts to change the protocol, with Brussels saying any act breaches international law.
Daniel Hannan, Adviser to the UK Board of Trade and former Conservative MEP, said on Twitter the EU’s “defence of the Protocol is based on a lie”.
He added the EU’s stated objectives, including “keeping sausages out of Donegal”, are “not its real objectives”, which are “creating an all-Ireland economy”.
He also said: “The lie is as follows. The EU publicly maintains that its sole concern is for what it calls ‘the integrity of the Single Market’.
“If so much as a single British pork pie were to cross into Co Cavan, it insists, the Customs Union would be prejudiced and its common rules made worthless.
“Eurocrats have repeated this assertion so often that I think even they have, on some level, come to believe it.
“Naturally their British devotees, who allow no criticism of European institutions, treat the claim as Holy Writ.”
Writing on Conservative Home, Mr Hannan added: “Yet every time some sententious British Europhile starts chuntering about ‘protecting the Single Market’ or ‘the need for border checks somewhere’, plumes of smoke rise from his pants.
“The Protocol has nothing to do with these things. Its real purposes are never publicly stated, but they can be clearly inferred.
“It is designed to divert Northern Ireland’s trade from Great Britain to the Republic of Ireland, so strengthening the case for a 32-county republic; to prevent the UK from gaining any commercial or competitive advantage over the EU; and, more generally, to give us a kicking for Brexit.
“How can I be so sure? Because there is no other way to interpret the EU’s response to Liz Truss’s proposed amendments to the Protocol. At no stage has it identified, or tried to identify, how they would cause it the slightest harm.
“If its real concerns were its stated concerns, it would have no problem with accepting them. But it can’t do so without prejudicing its actual goals.”
Meanwhile, Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin called on the UK to “get into the tunnel and negotiate” over changes to the post-Brexit deal.
He told the BBC Ireland and the EU “do not want a trade war” with the UK while at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Mr Martin, when asked whether the EU was drawing up plans to apply tariffs to politically sensitive UK exports, declined to “get into the detail of anything like that, because hopefully, that’s something we don’t ever have to contemplate”.
He added: “For now I’m simply saying, and I’ve been consistently saying get down there, get into the tunnel, UK government and EU, negotiate and get the technocrats in there.”
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It comes as the Northern Ireland Assembly will recall on Monday, after a successful petition from Sinn Féin.
The unionist party, the largest party in Stormont, held the recall petition in a bid to see a new speaker elected.
That election, which required cross-community support, is the first act that must happen after an election before the assembly can carry out any other business.
The petition needed 30 signatures to pass, and received the backing of Alliance and SDLP.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) have now been summoned to the Stormont chamber on Monday by current Speaker Alex Maskey to debate the “urgent appointment” of ministers.
Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Féin’s First Minister-designate, spoke after meeting a US delegation at Stormont and said: “They expect us to be putting money into peoples pockets but the DUP are blocking all that.
“It’s important we attempt to elect a speaker.”
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson dismissed the recall as a Sinn Féin “stunt”.
He added: “If they think that pulling a stunt like this next Monday is going to change things, then they really don’t understand unionism and our determination to stand our ground until we get the decisive action that is required to move us all forward.”
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