EU is 'using' Northern Ireland says Alex Phillips
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The UK and EU are locked in a dispute over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the part of the Brexit divorce deal aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland. Under the terms of the deal, deliveries of chilled meats – including sausages and burgers – could be effectively banned from crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain to Northern Ireland at the end of the month. But former Brexit Party MEP Alex Phillips has said the EU are forcing the UK’s hand and trying to keep the country under EU regulations.
Speaking to GB News, Tory MP Bernard Jenkin said: “The most important thing in all this is the Good Friday Agreement.
“I hope the EU isn’t saying that the Northern Ireland protocol is more important than the Good Friday Agreement because that’s the way they are behaving.
“There are different ways and more flexible ways about how we interpret these matters but President Macron said at the G7 summit that nothing is negotiable in the NI protocol.”
Ms Phillips added: “The difficulty here Bernard and obviously, I’ve sat in that European Parliament and fully supported Brexit, we know that the EU are very intransigent when it comes to this matter.
“Also it’s quite evident from the start that they want to use Northern Ireland essentially to keep the UK tied into EU regulation.
“That’s essentially what they’re saying, you’re going to have to stay in step.”
The Northern Ireland Protocol was part of the Brexit deal negotiated by Lord Frost and Prime Minister Mr Johnson.
The row dominated Mr Johnson’s talks with European Union leaders at the G7 summit, with the Prime Minister insisting he will do whatever it takes to keep goods flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
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The protocol effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods to ensure trade flows smoothly across the border with Ireland.
But in order to make sure products sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland comply with the rules, there are checks when they cross the Irish Sea.
The ban on chilled meats is because the UK is a “third country” and the EU does not allow imports of those products from outside the bloc.
Lord Frost acknowledged the issue has become more difficult because of the “weakening of consent” for the protocol arrangements in unionist groups.
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DUP MP Ian Paisley asked Lord Frost if the Government would consider “unilaterally scrapping” the protocol, adding “this can’t go on much longer before something gives and I am seriously worried about the fabric of our society at this point”.
Lord Frost replied: “The Prime Minister has been very clear that all options are on the table. He has said several times we will do whatever is necessary, and that is the view that is held across Government because we are extremely concerned about the situation.”
He added that he senses there is a “slight misunderstanding” within the EU over the constitutional position of Northern Ireland.
It followed reports that French President Emmanuel Macron had said to Mr Johnson at the G7 summit that Northern Ireland is not part of the UK.
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