Premium Content

Sunak’s “All-In” on Northern Ireland Protocol: Can He Deal His Way to a Brexit Solution?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has declared that he will “give it everything” this weekend to negotiate a new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland. Sunak’s comments come as Downing Street continues its talks with the European Union, but no agreement has been reached as yet. Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said the UK was close to a deal that would be very important if it could be completed. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged all parties to “go the extra mile” to reach an agreement. The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed upon after the UK left the EU, and it permits Northern Ireland to follow some EU laws so that goods can flow freely over the border to the Republic of Ireland without checks. However, goods arriving from England, Scotland, and Wales are checked when they arrive at Northern Irish ports, which some believe undermines the nation’s position within the rest of the UK as well as impacting trade. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which also wants less EU oversight of the rules, is blocking the formation of devolved government in Northern Ireland because of its concerns.

Sunak said in an interview with the Sunday Times that he is dedicated to getting a deal done this weekend, adding that “we’re giving it everything we’ve got”. He further stated that he wants to demonstrate that Brexit “works for every part of the United Kingdom,” adding that he wants to finish the unfinished business of Brexit. The prime minister has also expressed his views that stability for the people of Northern Ireland is crucial and that “the idea that the EU can impose laws on Northern Ireland without them having any say isn’t acceptable.” The UK and EU appear to be on the verge of finalizing a new deal, for which the prime minister is looking to garner support. The government has made progress in negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol, but no agreement has been reached yet. Raab told BBC Sunday that the UK wants to see a shift away from checks on every consignment of goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain. Instead, the EU should rely on an intelligence-based approach. “Encouraging the EU to look at market surveillance – which means where they’re worried about goods arriving in Northern Ireland then going to the rest of the EU, including Ireland, and posing a threat to the single market they monitor that through the shops in the Republic and rest of the EU,” he told Sky News. He also suggested if there are any new trade rules affecting Northern Ireland then there must be a Northern Irish “democratic check” on that.

The prime minister has been facing added pressure from some Conservative MPs over Northern Ireland’s current obligation to follow some EU laws and be accountable to the European Court of Justice. Mark Francois, who heads the European Research Group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs, warned Sunak it would be “incredibly unwise” to bring in any new deal without giving MPs a vote. Speaking on Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said his party would vote for a new deal in the national interest of the UK and restoring Northern Ireland’s Assembly.

Read more

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Videos