Wednesday 20 May 2020 / 3:26 PM Louise Haigh / Northern Ireland

Louise Haigh comments on Northern Ireland protocol proposals

Louise Haigh MP, Labour’s Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, commenting on the proposals on the Northern Ireland protocol released today, said:

“The Prime Minister has finally faced reality; his deal will mean additional checks and processes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But seven months of denial and mixed messages from the very top have cost businesses the vital time they needed to prepare.

“While we welcome the engagement today, these proposals are desperately short on the detail businesses and communities are crying out for. There are 32 weeks until these changes comes into force, and businesses are still in the dark.”

Ends

 

Notes to editors

The Prime Minister has previously denied to businesses in Northern Ireland and the public that his deal meant there would be any new checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

  • “There will be no checks on goods from GB to NI, or NI to GB” – Boris Johnson, December 2019

Boris Johnson denies Labour claim about Northern Ireland border checks, 6th December 2019: https://news.sky.com/video/johnson-denies-labour-claim-about-brexit-northern-ireland-border-checks-11879551

  • “We’re a UK Government, why would we put checks on goods NI to GB or GB to NI. It doesn’t make sense”

Boris Johnson, December 2019 Ridge on Sunday, reported in The Guardian, 8th December: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/08/boris-johnson-admits-there-will-be-some-customs-checks-after-brexit-ireland-customs-checks

  • [We welcome his assurance that there will continue to be unfettered access for Northern Ireland businesses to the UK single market, but does that commitment also apply to goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland?] “Emphatically it does” –

Boris Johnson, 22nd January 2020 Hansard Column 302, 22nd January, Prime Minister’s Questions: https://bit.ly/37p0PtC

 

But today’s Command Paper on the Northern Ireland protocol is clear there will be:

  • “This entails some new administrative process for traders, notably new electronic import declaration requirements, and safety and security information, for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK”,

Command Paper, The UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, p12

  • “We will however expand some existing entry points for agri-food goods to provide for proportionate additional control.”

Command Paper, The UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, p10

  • “The situation is different, as we have always acknowledged from the start, on agri-food movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. Some checks will be needed, supported by relevant electronic processes, in line with the island of Ireland’s existing status as a Single Epidemiological Unit,”

Command Paper, The UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, p13