Nigel Farage urges Britons to sign Brexit petition as he piles pressure onto Boris Johnson

EU made a ‘serious mistake’ on Article 16 says Michael Gove

The Brexiteer took to Twitter to warn Northern Ireland is being “cut off” from the rest of the UK with trade. Mr Farage shared a petition started by DUP leader Arlene Foster and called on others to add their names. 

The former MEP said: “It seems that Northern Ireland is being increasingly cut off from the rest of the UK in terms of trade.

“I am signing this petition to put pressure on the Government to do something and urge Brexiteers and those that believe in the UK to do the same.”

The petition calling for Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to be triggered has already received more than 50,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

It says: “Her Majesty’s Government must immediately remove any impediment or barrier to unfettered trade within the United Kingdom.

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“After just one month, Northern Ireland is suffering real economic and societal difficulties as a consequence of the Northern Ireland Protocol operating and creating new barriers to unfettered trade within the United Kingdom and disrupting supply lines of goods to Northern Ireland.

“The Government should use all the powers it has to move urgently to protect UK trade and to ensure all UK goods and produce can freely flow to and from every part of the United Kingdom.”

The Prime Minister on Wednesday warned he is ready to override elements of the Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland to prevent a trade barrier developing in the Irish Sea.

It comes amid mounting concern that measures in the Withdrawal Agreement to keep open the land border with the Republic are disrupting trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

And the EU last week stoked fears when it invoked Article 16 to block exports of coronavirus vaccines from the Republic to Nothern Ireland – before making a humiliating U-turn in the face of a major backlash.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson refused to rule out triggering Article 16.

He told MPs: “We will do everything we need to do, whether legislatively or indeed by triggering Article 16 of the protocol, to ensure that there is no barrier down the Irish Sea.”

First Minister Mrs Foster has insisted the Northern Ireland Protocol “cannot work” and must be replaced.

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Writing in the Daily Telegraph, she said the Prime Minister had committed to protecting the UK internal market by all legislative means necessary, including triggering Article 16.

Mrs Foster demanded that Mr Johnson “must now back up those words with tangible actions”.

The DUP leader said: “The Northern Ireland Protocol has not worked, cannot work and in light of our proposals to the Government, needs to be replaced.”

She warned that extending grace periods for businesses could not solve the “wholly disproportionate” checks and that the region’s “political and economic links” to the UK were at risk.

The Northern Ireland Protocol was how the EU and the UK overcame the sticking point of the Irish border.

The two sides agreed to move new regulatory and customs processes to the Irish Sea, meaning checks are now focused on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland with goods continuing to move freely within the island of Ireland.

Both the UK and EU are set to hold talks in London next week to discuss the issue further.

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