Brexit POLL: Should Liz Truss trigger Article 16?

Northern Ireland is a 'priority issue' for US says expert

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There is renewed interest in the new Prime Minister Liz Truss taking action as the September 15 deadline approaches for the UK to respond to legal proceedings brought by the EU over the failure to implement proper Irish border checks. Ms Truss’s team has considered employing Article 16 due to the expiration of the grace period, yet her allies say she will not activate the emergency provisions.

One told the Financial Times last week: “I’d be surprised if we go down the Article 16 route, although we’re not ruling anything out.” 

The triggering of Article 16 would allow either side to take unilateral action over the Northern Ireland Protocol if they deem it is having a negative impact on their interests. 

Taking such action would increase tensions between the UK and EU and could result in a trade war, increasing tariffs and removing quotas for goods. Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said that Ms Truss taking office opened up an “opportunity” to reset relations. 

He said in a statement: “I hope we can use the period ahead to prioritise EU-UK engagement, and to reach agreed outcomes on the issues around implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol.” 

Some EU diplomats have warned that any activation of Article 16 would be seen as “a provocative act” and would only lead to increased tensions with Brussels. 

One told the Financial Times that any meaningful talks on solving the row would require Truss “as a bare minimum” to freeze the Northern Ireland legislation, which is making its way through Parliament and awaiting scrutiny in the House of Lords. 

An EU official also told the Financial Times: “Unilateral action will never be acceptable. Only joint solutions can work. 

“We have been calling on the UK Government to engage. That still stands today. 

“We have made proposals. Our doors are open to discuss them.”


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John Finucane, the Sinn Féin MP for North Belfast, said last month that “reckless threats” to trigger article 16 were evidence of the UK government’s “total disregard for the democratic wishes of people and businesses here”. 

He argued that the Protocol was supported by most people, companies and politicians in the Northern Irish assembly, but the Conservatives had tried to undermine it.  

Mr Finucane urged Ms Truss to “get back to the table with the EU to give certainty and stability to our businesses”. 

So what do YOU think? Should Liz Truss trigger Article 16? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comment section below.

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