Dominic Raab issues new Brexit threat to EU
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Talks between London and Brussels over post-Brexit trading trading arrangements in Northern Ireland had taken a back seat as the world desperately seeks to find a peaceful resolution to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Britain’s negotiating team, led by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, has called for the protocol to be overhauled as it simply isn’t working. The UK has suggested, on several occasions, it’s close to triggering Article 16 of the deal, which would see large parts and potentially all of the hated agreement completely torn up.
The EU has warned such a move would be met with fierce retaliation, sparking fears of a trade war at a time when the UK and Europe are struggling with the cost of living crisis.
But leading Brexiteer Lord Daniel Hannan has backed Britain to suspend parts of the protocol, accusing the EU of “still being grumpy about Brexit”.
The former MEP, who has served as an adviser to the Board of Trade since 2020, tweeted: “The UK Government has no option but to suspend parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“It cannot undermine the stability and prosperity of the province simply because the EU is still grumpy about Brexit.”
On Sunday, deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said the Government would take “whatever measures are necessary” to resolve the issues around the protocol.
He warned stability in Northern Ireland was being “imperilled” by the dispute over the protocol.
Mr Raab told Sky News: “We will deal with the situation, we will take whatever measures are necessary to protect the economic as well as the constitutional integrity of Northern Ireland.”
He also indicated that the protocol had been used as a “political device” by Brussels.
The UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis warned London “would not shy away from taking further steps if necessary” to address the protocol if a deal with the EU could not be reached.
The EU’s envoy to Britain has said the bloc is ready to restart talks over the protocol following the Northern Ireland elections last week but warned it would not overhaul an arrangement that is central to post-Brexit trading rules.
Joao Vale de Almeida told BBC radio: “Let’s be clear: we are not ready to renegotiate an international treaty that we signed just a couple of years ago.
“But also it is clear in our mind that unilateral action creates more problems than the ones it solves.
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“So we need to find jointly agreed solutions.”
On Monday, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson warned he will not lead the DUP back into power sharing until issues with the protocol are resolved.
The DUP leader said the “long shadow” of the post-Brexit trading arrangement is casting its mark over politics in the region.
He said: “We want to see this place up and running as soon as possible. We want stable devolved government. We are committed to our participation in those institutions.
“We need decisive action by the Government to address the difficulties created by the protocol.
“Whether that is driving up the cost of living, whether that is the harm that it is doing to businesses and our economy, or indeed in undermining political stability in Northern Ireland.
“The protocol needs to be dealt with.”
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