UK 'puts Europeans above issues in our own country' says Foster
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Some pro-EU Lords in the House of Lords could block the passage of Liz Truss’ Northern Ireland bill and threaten the UK’s internal market, former DUP leader Arlene Foster blasted. Her remark comes ahead of Boris Johnson’s Government announcement on the new legislation. The bill is aimed at responding to the DUP’s concerns around the Irish Sea border put in place by the protocol, which they say, is harming Northern Ireland’s economy and putting it at odds with Great Britain. In a speech to Parliament, Liz Truss already gave a glimpse of it last month, but she is expected to give the specifics on Monday.
However, the bill could see significant opposition from remainer Lords who would rather defend the EU than the UK’s internal market, former first minister Arlene Foster lambasted.
Speaking to GB News, Ms Foster slammed: “No doubt, there will be remainers in the House of Lords, which we’ll want to block this despite the fact that we are actually trying to protect the internal market of the United Kingdom.
“But some people, as you well know, want to put the Europeans above what happens in our own country. So, no doubt there will be some who will vote against it.
“But of course, the prime minister has to have a stale to, if necessary, use the Parliament act. And that means that we may see a lot of toing and froing between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.”
Ms Foster said: “But if the PM is setting out on this very sensible road, then he has to have the will to see it through. And I hope that he has the will to see it through. And that the members of his party, who claim to be conservatives and unionists, also have the will to see it through.
“Anybody in the Conservative Unionist party should want to secure the union and they should want to secure the internal market of the United Kingdom.
“So, if Conservatives decide to vote against that, they should really challenge themselves as to whether they are unionists anymore.
“But in terms of the legislation, I think what people will be looking for is whether it deals with the jurisdiction of the European court because at this moment we’re in the single market for goods. We are subject to the jurisdiction of the European court whilst the rest of the UK is not. It will want to see whether goods can pass from GB into Northern Ireland without checks.”
To solve the issue, Liz Truss said her bill would include a system of green and red “lanes”. Goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland would go unchecked through the green lane whereas goods destined to the EU would go through checks through the red trade route.
Referring to those lanes, Ms Foster said: “And one the most frustrating things is the fact that all this could’ve been dealt with at the time.
“But many of these proposals, when they were put forward were rejected by the European Commission and by the Irish government because they were being seen as unicorn solutions. Of course, they weren’t. They were perfectly technically available.
“They wouldn’t have caused the huge difficulties that the border in the Irish Sea has caused to the Assembly and the Executive here in Northern Ireland.
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“But I’m really glad to see this legislation coming forward now. I hope it will deal with the key issue of protecting the acts of union.
“And I’ll be very interested to see whether the legislation specifically mentions that when it comes to out later today.”
The announcement of the bill, which could override parts of the protocol, has caused uproar abroad.
The EU’s Brexit Commissioner Maros Sefcovic has warned the UK against the unilateral move and suggested the EU could wage a trade war, which would worsen the cost-of-living crisis.
The US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that, should Boris Johnson’s Government move forward with the bill, “they will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress.”
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