We were on the Wirral when Boris Johnson and the Irish President Leo Varadkar signed the Northern Ireland Protocol Brexit in a hotel, the Thornton Manor, where we often ate Sunday lunch. This was October 2019.
A week earlier we were on the London anti-Brexit March with hundreds of thousands of Remainers from all quarters of the UK. But the Protocol was how Boris Johnson aimed to become prime minister.
It is incredible that the prime minister wants to do away with the Protocol now. Despite that – or because? – he is in a difficult situation he wants to go ahead and override parts of the protocol, seemingly to breach an international agreement aided by Attorney General Suella Braverman.
The UK Government tabled legislation on June 13 giving ministers the power to scrap parts of the Protocol. Foreign secretary Liz Truss Foreign says there’s no reason for the EU to retaliate against her Protocol Bill, but the EU is planning some infringement procedures, which could lead to a large fine (and have seen British participants in Horizon frozen out of their grants).
Labour have said they would repeal the laws on the protocol if in government. Recently Keir Starmer made this clear when he visited Belfast with senior Irish politicians, such as Mary Lou McDonald.
Interestingly many Tory lawyers are unhappy and others are also in deep disquiet, whilst foreign office minister James Cleverly is ‘confident’ that proposals don’t break international law. The usual spin comes from the leader and most of the Cabinet.
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said the UK must step back from its plans. He also said that the UK proposals would destabilise Northern Ireland. He accused the UK of a deliberate build up of tension, which will delight Putin.
A short conversation between foreign secretary Liz Truss and Simon Coveney went badly. She has had discussions with the EU, but the remainer she was has totally disappeared.
It is only 3 years since the PM signed the Protocol.
Losing it will affect businesses, yet Lord Frost threatened to suspend parts of the Protocol last October 2021. The prime minister emphasises his ‘alliance‘ to Ukraine, yet his actions are provoking an emotional dispute between the UK and the EU and USA. This is great for Putin as it drives a wedge between the western allies, whilst PM doesn’t seem to care about international law. He and Truss don’t get the implications, or maybe they do. We citizens are now trapped in this world of uncertainty.
The Good Friday Agreement 1998 made power sharing in Northern Ireland a reality, working with the Irish Republic and the EU in an amazing result which stopped the fighting between Catholics and Protestants and solved other political issues. The demolition of the Protocol is bound to bring back the very things which it was designed to prevent.
The prime minister is making a vast gamble which could damage U.K. The EU is already talking about a Trade War. Joe Biden, a Catholic US President would look down at the UK. This threatens any UK-US trade deal.
This along with other gimmicks like the Rwanda proposals are simply designed to keep Johnson in power?
Meanwhile, we are left short of food, gas electricity, oil and more.