UK ‘may suspend Ulster protocol’
BRITAIN is prepared to unilaterally suspend a trading agreement with the EU, Brexit minister Lord Frost warned last night.
He told the House of Lords the EU should take the UK’s proposals to renegotiate part of the Northern Ireland Protocol ‘seriously’ if it wanted to prevent the Stormont Executive collapsing.
The former chief Brexit negotiator said he had set out the tests the UK would apply to trigger Article 16 of the protocol, which allows either side to suspend the agreement if it is deemed to be having a significant impact on everyday life.
‘I urge the EU to take this seriously,’ Lord Frost told peers. ‘They would be making a significant mistake if they thought we were not ready to use Article 16 safeguards if that is our only choice to deal with the situation in front of us. If we are to avoid Article 16, there must be a real negotiation between us and the EU.’
The Government will confirm today that it is going to delay the introduction of import checks on goods from the EU until next year to avoid shortages in the run up to Christmas. Lord Frost was speaking days after his Brussels counterpart, Maros Sefcovic, joint head of the EUUK partnership council, told Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to ‘dial down the rhetoric’ after it threatened to walk out of the Stormont Assembly if there is no change on the protocol within weeks.