Brexit POLL: Does Northern Ireland protocol row put future trade deals at risk?

Brexit: Northern Ireland has been 'betrayed' says Nigel Farage

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is attempting to resolve issues surrounding the Northern Ireland protocol by introducing new legislation. Her proposal would override elements of the protocol – formed as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement – by suspending border checks in the Irish Sea.

Such unilateral action is likely to anger Brussels and Dublin, both have warned they could rip up the bloc’s trade deal in response. 

Ms Truss spoke in the House of Commons on Tuesday, May 17, and warned of the “urgency of the situation”. 

This is due to the Democratic Unionist Party’s refusal to form a power-sharing Executive with Sinn Fein over the protocol. 

She told MPs: “To respond to the very grave and serious situation in Northern Ireland, we are clear there’s a necessity to act to ensure the institutions can be restored as soon as possible.

“The Bill will put in place the necessary measures to lessen the burden on East-West trade. “It will ensure goods moving and staying in the UK are freed of unnecessary bureaucracy.”

At present, goods travelling to Northern Ireland continue to abide by EU single market regulations to allow for no hard border on the island of Ireland – but has created a de facto border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. 

Her proposal includes a dual model with the creation of a green channel to filter goods travelling to Northern Ireland only which are exempt from customs controls.

A second red channel will be created for exports destined for the Republic of Ireland and thus the EU.

However, the European Commission has threatened a tough response if unilateral action is taken including the scrapping of the Brexit trade deal.

In a statement responding to Ms Truss’s announcement, the EU Commission said the proposal raises “significant concerns”.

A spokesperson said: “Unilateral actions contradicting an international agreement are not acceptable.

“The Withdrawal Agreement and its Protocol are the necessary foundation for the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

“Should the UK decide to move ahead with a Bill disapplying constitutive elements of the Protocol, the EU will need to respond with all measures at its disposal.”

So what do YOU think? Do you fear the Northern Ireland protocol row could put future trade deals at risk? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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