NI Protocol: Expert asks why Lord Frost signed off on deal
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Alan Winters from the UK Trade Policy Observatory told GB News the ramifications of ripping up the Protocol and triggering Article 16, which gives the UK and EU unilateral power should the Protocol fail, are enormous and serious questions must be asked of chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost and Boris Johnson ahead of such an event. He went on to call for the British government to “stop banging the drum” and make a “sensible compromise” over the issue to bring an end to the Brexit chaos.
He highlighted how the move would also be a violation of the Good Friday Agreement which will bring with it a host of other political issues and pressures, the trade expert went on to add jokingly how the “first person on the phone would be Joe Biden” if the Agreement is violated.
During Brexit negotiations, all sides agreed that protecting the 1998 Good Friday agreement was an absolute priority and this has formed a major backbone issue of the chaos.
Mr Winters continued, saying: “The UK has got pretty serious obligations so far as the Good Friday Agreement is concerned.
“And these have not figured very much in the analysis over the last several years.”
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But in a devastating attack on Mr Johnson and Lord Frost, he furiously slammed how “the real question” for the pair is “why did you sign it”.
He waged his attack further, adding: “Did you not understand it? Did you have your fingers crossed behind your back!
“Why did you sign this deal! Signing an international treaty and ripping it up us actually very serious stuff.”
Mr Winters went on to suggest that a pre-requisite for getting a “sensible compromise” over the Protocol chaos is if the Brits “show some preparedness to compromise” ahead of fresh talks and a renegotiation effort with Brussels.
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Mr Winters called on negotiators to acknowledge how the situation with trade in Northern Ireland has changed in a fundamental way and agree to “move forward”.
While in a seething conclusion Mr Winters slammed the government for the “toe curlingly self-pitying” and “embarassing” paper that was produced in July on the issue of the Protocol.
He accused the Government of using the paper, which outlined possible options to move forwards, to say ‘Parliament made us sign it’ (the Protocol).
The trade expert suggested how now the British government have got to make a move “rather than just banging the drum” over Northern Ireland.
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The comments come amid a chaotic week following the announcement from Vice-President of the European Commission Maros Šefčovič that the EU hopes to bring forward new proposals for the Northern Ireland Protocol which he believes will be the basis for fresh talks with the UK to solve the crisis.
The Northern Ireland Protocol ensures there’s no need for checks along the land border between Northern Ireland (in the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (in the EU).
But major import problems have blown up as food products arriving from mainland Britain into Northern Ireland have often had to wait for hours on end to be checked by border force before continuing their journey which has meant tonnes of products being wasted or destroyed if hauliers cannot provide the correct documentation.
It comes as Lord Frost will use a speech in Lisbon next week to call for “significant” changes to the post-Brexit agreement and demand that the bloc “now needs to show ambition and willingness to tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol head-on.”
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