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Louise Haigh Is Accusing Boris Johnson Of An "Addiction To Dishonesty" On Northern Ireland

Louise Haigh Is Accusing Boris Johnson Of An 'Addiction To Dishonesty' On Northern Ireland
3 min read

Exclusive: Louise Haigh, the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, will launch a scathing attack on Boris Johnson's approach to the province and accuse the Prime Minister of "actively" undermining the peace process and an "addiction to dishonesty".

In a speech to Labour Party Conference in Brighton this afternoon, Haigh will say Johnson has failed to live up to the standards of former Prime Ministers like John Major when it comes to the delicate issue of Northern Ireland, and accuse him of putting political self interest over the interests of communities there.

Johnson "promised that he would never place barriers down the Irish sea, and then did it," Haigh will tell party members in Brighton, referring to the post-Brexit protocol for trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK which the government now wants to renegotiate.

Haigh said Johnson is a leader who "signed an international treaty and then broke it. Who negotiated every single word in the Northern Ireland Protocol and now blames everyone else for the consequences."

"As Prime Minister he bears responsibility but not only is he refusing to show leadership, his addiction to dishonesty is costing communities in Northern Ireland dear," she will say.

"Self interest over national interest, every single time."

Haigh will insist that Labour will not stand by as the "greatest political achievement of a generation" — the Good Friday peace agreement — is undermined, and will explain how the party would deliver the "unfulfilled promise of peace" if gets into government. 

Haigh's speech comes against a backdrop of continued uncertainty in Northern Ireland, with the government and European Union at loggerheads over how trade across the Irish Sea should work after Brexit.

The government, represented on EU matters by Cabinet Office Minister Lord Frost, wants to effectively rewrite the Northern Ireland Protocol, agreed as part of Brexit negotiations, arguing that is causing an unacceptable level of disruption to businesses and day-to-day life in the province.

There is growing talk that Frost could escalate the stand-off in the coming days by triggering Article 16 of the Protocol, which it would use to suspend parts of the treaty which it disagrees with. 

Brussels is expected to present proposals of how the Northern Ireland Protocol can be revised in the coming days but they are unlikely that they will go far enough to satisfy the government. 

The government has also faced criticism from across Northern Ireland's political spectrum for how it plans to deal with unresolved crimes committed during The Troubles.

Brandon Lewis, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in July said the government would put an end to prosecutions of former British soldiers and paramilitarites accused of commiting crimes during the conflict.

The proposals, which Lewis at the time admitted would be hard for people to accept, have received a backlash from families of victims of The Troubles and are opposed by all the main political parties in Stormont. United Nations human rights experts have also expressed concern.

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