Liz Truss Insists UK Won't “Scrap” Northern Ireland Protocol After Pledging Law To Change It
The foreign secretary Liz Truss has denied the UK wants to "scrap" the Northern Ireland protocol altogether (Alamy)
Foreign secretary Liz Truss has denied the UK intends to “scrap” the Northern Ireland protocol, which governs the movement of goods post-Brexit, and instead “change the bits that don’t work”.
Truss said that a plan for new legislation that she announced to the Commons yesterday “still delivers for the EU” and will protect the single market. The announcement followed warnings that the UK could spark a trade war with Brussels if it chooses to unilaterally override the protocol.
After months of tough talk from ministers on ditching the protocol altogether, prompted by anger from Northern Irish unionists and hard-Brexit MPs who object to the fact that it imposes checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the rhetoric has softened on both sides in recent days.
Speaking to LBC this morning Truss said the new bill, which is expected to be tabled before Parliament’s summer recess, will “keep a lot of key parts of the protocol”.
“What we're doing is changing the bits that don't work, namely the East-West trade part, namely the tax part,” she explained.
“So this is not about scrapping the protocol, we recognise the need for there to be an arrangement to manage this very specific situation, but we are making it work better.”
The foreign secretary, who is in charge of leading the negotiations with the EU, said there must be "sensible, pragmatic changes" to the protocol.
"The reality is it isn't working on the ground. It has created political instability in Northern Ireland,” she told Sky News.
Truss called on the EU to "come to the negotiating table" so a "pragmatic solution" can be agreed together, but said the controversial plans to overwrite parts of the deal cannot be delayed.
"The situation is very severe.The executive hasn't been formed since February," she told Times Radio.
"We're only going to be able to get it back up and running, to get the Belfast Good Friday Agreement working again, by delivering this solution.
"Now, if while we're putting this legislation through we can get a negotiated solution with the EU, that would be very positive – we'd be able to put that into the legislation.
“But we're certainly not delaying the legislative process because it is urgent that we deliver for the people of Northern Ireland."
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