My interventions in the debate on the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP (Wokingham) (Con): I congratulate the Foreign Secretary on her very patient and good diplomacy. Will she confirm that this very moderate measure is completely legal and essential to the peace and good will of Northern Ireland?

Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs: I can absolutely confirm that this Bill is both necessary and legal, and the Government have published a legal statement setting that out.

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP (Wokingham) (Con): The protocol makes very clear the primacy of the Good Friday agreement for peace in Northern Ireland and says that the EU will respect our internal market. The EU is doing neither. What is the right hon. Gentleman’s policy to persuade it to do so?

David Lammy, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (Lab): Negotiate—just as Labour did to get the Good Friday agreement. We negotiate. We do not break international law and alienate our partners and allies not just in Europe but across the world, and the right hon. Gentleman should know better.

As we debate the Bill, we should ask ourselves some simple questions. First, will it resolve the situation in Northern Ireland? Secondly, is it in the best interests of our great country? Thirdly, is it compatible with our commitment to the rule of law? Let me take each of those in turn.

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP (Wokingham) (Con): Has my right hon. Friend noticed how Labour always takes the side of the EU, even when, as in this case, the EU is damaging the Good Friday agreement and diverting trade expressly against the legal provisions of the protocol?

Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: My right hon. Friend makes a fair point. He will know from attending oral questions to the Northern Ireland Office that I have regularly had to listen to the hon. Member for Hove at the Dispatch Box taking the side of the EU—but then, the hon. Member wants to rejoin the EU, so I suppose we should not be surprised.

We should also be clear about the reality, when we hear about the flexibility of the European Union and the offer it has made, based on its October offer. That would be a backwards step from the current situation, which is already not working for businesses and people in Northern Ireland.

121 Comments

  1. Mark B
    July 2, 2022

    Good morning – again

    . . . necessary and legal . . .

    Yes. But will it be effective ?

    I think not !

    1. Nig l
      July 2, 2022

      No one does. It will continue to be political smoke and mirrors. I believe it needs Ministers to trigger actions if this doesn’t force concessions from the EU. I am happy for Sir JR to correct me.

      That is by no means certain considering the opposition from even within the Cabinet, Theresa May’s ‘puppet’ Gove I understand is one, Damian Green’s One Nation Group, another of May’s ‘quislings’ let alone the Lords.

      As for the David Lammy’s response, a stock answer meaning nothing and unchallenged by the Media. Talk about what? For how long? What new can you introduce? The EU has offered zero concessions why should a different face across the table change that? Etc.

      As long as you say you are going to continue to talk, the other side can just stonewall for as it has been doing plus threatening us of course. Walking away as this new law might crystallise matters.

      One thing has been shown, namely the naked subservience of Leo Varadkar to the EU and transparent attempts to use the protocol to force NI to join with its southern neighbour.

      As ever our elites across the spectrum are happiest putting their own country down.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        July 2, 2022

        Yes – David Lammy said nothing and offered nothing, as ever with him criticism but no solutions.

        Maybe he is one of the older voices Lewis Hamilton was suggesting should not have a platform

      2. Peter
        July 2, 2022

        Nig1,

        Agreed. We don’t know the full detail or whether it will be effective. It will probably get knocked back by the House of Lords in due course.

        However, it can be offered as evidence of the government trying to address the issue.

        It may suit some people if the talking just continues for a good bit longer. That seems to be the case also with the problem of illegal migrants. Blame for the situation can then be put on various others.

    2. Denis Cooper
      July 2, 2022

      We can’t really know until we see the regulations; this would only be an enabling Act. If the regulations were just as outlined by Liz Truss then I think the answer must be that with its focus on checking imported goods it will not work to stop local producers turning out goods which do not comply with EU standards and sending them across the border. So, as a purely hypothetical example, the perhaps less than scrupulous management of British Widgets based in Great Britain might see it as a good idea to set up a subsidiary in Northern Ireland whose output would escape the rigorous checks that Liz Truss is planning for imported widgets coming into Belfast on their way to the Irish Republic. Or as another hypothetical example once a dodgy chicken farmer in the province was allowed to depart from EU standards and perhaps operate to US standards, because of that much desired UK-US trade deal, then from what she has said so far the authorities might might not be able to stop him sending batches of “chlorinated chicken” across the border into the Republic and the rest of the EU Single Market. Quite simply the focus is in the wrong place, on the wrong stream of goods, imports, when it is blindingly obvious that it should be on the stream of goods destined to cross the border, exports. However I have a horrible feeling that after more than four years it is now too late to change the government’s thinking.

      1. Lifelogic
        July 2, 2022

        Indeed.

        Finally some attempt to do something I suppose.

        In the Telegraph today:- “Why have the Tories stopped talking about growth?
        Simon Heffer looks at how the Conservatives threw away their reputation for sound finance – and what they can do to repair it.”

        Another repeat of Major’s ERM fiasco in a new inflation, tax to death, expensive energy & net zero lunacy – guise?

        1. Lifelogic
          July 2, 2022

          Also Ben Marlow in the Telegraph bizarrely claims:- “Putin is the best wind turbine salesman”! He seems to have it rather back to front, it is quite the reverse Ben. You cannot fight wars very effectively using intermittent and expensive wind generated electricity. Furthermore arrays of wind turbines and their under water interconnections are hugely vulnerable to being easily taken out of action in wars (as are the digital control mechanisms to keep them stable).

          What Putins actions confirms to me why it is very good to have your own or good supplies of coal, gas, & oil. Had Germany done so we would probable not now have had this appallingly damaging war.

      2. Sir Joe Soap
        July 2, 2022

        So long as EU rules predominate in NI then this can’t happen. But of course why should a UK government either police EU rules in its territory or allow foreign “inspectors” onto its territory to police foreign rules? The obvious answer of course is for the EU to check goods physically at their destination in Ireland if they wish, be that slaughterhouse or port for subsequent export. Where they put their border for imports isn’t our problem, and neither is our import border their problem.

        1. Denis Cooper
          July 2, 2022

          As I said in this letter, which was published in our local paper on June 23:

          http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2022/06/19/why-do-so-many-councils-hate-vans-and-cars/#comment-1324575

          “As we reach the sixth anniversary of the EU referendum I find that I care less and less about what stuff unscrupulous folk may take across the open Irish land border to contaminate the EU Single Market.

          The EU and the Irish government have been offered collaborative solutions, not least by a former EU Commission Director-General and two professors of law, but they have rejected them out of hand.

          So when I examine the UK government’s Bill to unilaterally disapply parts of the Irish protocol, and find that it only gives a nod towards protection of the EU Single Market, how much do I care about that?”

          However because I want this mess sorted out I still had to conclude with:

          “But little as I may care about the integrity of the EU Single Market, now that Dublin and Brussels have worn down my neighbourly goodwill, the UK Parliament has many members who do care about it.

          Indeed it may be the case that taken across both houses a majority of parliamentarians feel greater loyalty to the EU than to the UK, and of course this Bill will have to get past them to come into effect.

          Therefore I am forced to hope that during its passage the Bill will be amended to place greater and more obvious emphasis of protecting the EU Single Market, to help win over those EU sympathisers.”

        2. MFD
          July 2, 2022

          Why do our government fuss over over eu rules. NI should not be penalised because they have a foreign border. Thats all the eu problem within their area, its not for Britain to prevent it getting through.

          I personally would close the land bridge these foreigners use through Great Britain. Job done! The republicans are totally untrustworthy anyway

          1. Jason
            July 2, 2022

            UK had the chance to walk away in 2016 without a withdrawal agreement in fact there was no need for negotiation whatsoever but we chose to enter talks and now we are all tied up in knots. This us not the fault of the EU but of our own making

          2. Peter Parsons
            July 2, 2022

            WTO rules require freedom of transit.

            Closing the land bridge” would be against WTO rules.

    3. Nottingham Lad Himself
      July 2, 2022

      Look, you know what this concerns.

      It is the simple fact that NI is doing better than any other part of the UK by dint of being in the SM and CU, and so this is objective evidence that brexit is economically baleful as well as being utterly counter-Enlightenment.

      That is what gives the ERG the heeby-geebies.

    4. Hope
      July 2, 2022

      JR, Ben Habib thinks it a damp squib because it kicks the can down the road. It does not set out minister instruments mentioned therein. Woolly unspecific.

      These will be rotten later, when, by whom?

  2. DOM
    July 2, 2022

    The WA itself is an act of political surrender and treats NI differently as though it was separate from the rest of the UK. The Tory party by accepting this state of affairs confirms that such a squalid agreement signed by someone who will go down in infamy is valid and legal.

    Labour utterly despise the UK, its people, culture and its history. The Tory party are not far behind in implementing policies that are infused with an ideology that treats us and our history with contempt though they do this not because they want to but to defend their party interest

    I believe it’s game over for the UK, the ideologues in Washington will make sure of that

    1. Dave Andrews
      July 2, 2022

      They say the NI protocol is international law and mustn’t be broken.
      I say there is no such thing as international law, British law is supreme in the sovereign UK, and the NI protocol breaks the Act of Union.

      1. Len Peel
        July 2, 2022

        Problem you’ve is the EU doesnt agree, nor does the USA. Brexit Britain lacks friends, though China and Russia are grateful the UK doesnt take international agreements seriously

        1. graham1946
          July 2, 2022

          So only the UK should honour commitments the EU sees to its advantage with in the Protocol, ignoring the bits that cover UK markets, but the EU is allowed to break international law by reneging on its own obligations under same? Please explain how this is in accordance with the Agreement. As you suggest, the EU is intransigent and has flatly refused to negotiate round the implementation of the terms or to implement them as they undertook, every bit as much as we did. The USA being entirely insular neither understands nor really cares about Northern Ireland, except where a President thinks he can garner votes in the USA. I doubt many Americans could point to Ireland on a map. Time to get real.

        2. X-Tory
          July 2, 2022

          NO country has “friends”! The concept of ‘international friends’ is so childish, so stupid, so naive and so pathetic that it makes you look like a whiny 10-year-old child. EVERY country ONLY cares about ITSELF. And that, of course, is only natural. Politicians are elected by people who ONLY want those politicians to care about them – the people who elected them. The EU has always HATED the UK, and that is the reason we had to leave that organisation. Only a self-loathing, subservient masochist would want to belong to a club where he is treated so badly. I DO NOT WANT false international friends. I want Britain to be ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT, going its own way and doing what it wants.

          As Palmerston said: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” And those interests are to make Britain MORE powerful than foreign countries. You can’t achieve that through international agreement, only by relentless and unyielding self-interest.

          1. Mark B
            July 2, 2022

            I so, so, so agree with every word you have written. I grit my teeth every time I hear a politician refer to the EU or any country as ‘our friends’. They are no such thing. Individually they may be, but nationally ? Never !

      2. Bill brown
        July 2, 2022

        Dave Andrews

        International law is part of the agreement whether you like it or not

        Reply It is the EU that is breaking international law by undermining the Good Friday Agreement

        1. Lifelogic
          July 2, 2022

          To reply:- exactly.

        2. Len Peel
          July 2, 2022

          The Protocol itself – agreed by the UK – says it is “necessary” to uphold the Good Friday Agreement. No one trusts a UK government which just 2 years later refuses to admit what it signed up to

          1. graham1946
            July 2, 2022

            Again you choose to ignore the obligations of the EU. Why do you hate the UK so much that you side with foreign powers over our own when demonstrably they are in the wrong? How can we trust an EU that reneges on its promises in the Protocol?

        3. Bill brown
          July 2, 2022

          Sir JR

          It’s interesting to know that a majority of NI population according to Politico don’t agree with you

      3. X-Tory
        July 2, 2022

        On the issue of the Act of Union, the Courts have agreed that the Protocol is contrary to the Act of Union, but say it is lawful because Parliament voted for this. This is obviously true: parliament is supreme, and can make any decision it wants, and whatever it decides is the law. The Act of Union has, as the judges say, been “subjugated” by the Protocol – (just as Boris has allowed the UK to be subjugated by the EU!).

        On the issue of ‘international law’, THIS DOES NOT EXIST. What people are referring to are international *agreements* (such as treaties) which are then turned into *national laws* by the parliaments of the countries involved. The legal term for this is “incorporation”. An agreement is incorporated into law by parliament, and then, and *only* then, does it become a law, but it is a NATIONAL law and, like all national laws, it can be changed by parliament. The Protocol was incorporated into law by parliament, so it is now *UK* law, but if parliament passes the current Bill they will amend it, as they are perfectly entitled to do. So the government is not ‘breaking’ the law, it is CHANGING the law – (just as it changed the Act of Union by incorporating the Protocol in the first place).

        People who talk about ‘international law’ are either liars or idiots.

        1. bill brown
          July 2, 2022

          Interesting perspective but considering what you have said the last line does come to mind as well X-tory

        2. Gary
          July 2, 2022

          The act of union 1801 was not ratified by the irish parliament or irish people therefore it doesn’t exist in law? It was never incorporated into law by an irish parliament.

          1. Peter2
            July 2, 2022

            Ridiculous idea Gary
            Agreed by the UN for decades as a accepted border and law.

        3. hefner
          July 5, 2022

          Why do you intervene here P2, the discussion started by X-Tory is clearly above your pay grade.

      4. Hope
        July 2, 2022

        The protocol allows either party to withdraw from it. That is not illegal. You might recall EU used it to deny covid vaccines. Our govt. did nothing in response. Again, showing how weak and pathetic it is. Only know towing.
        It needs to be scrapped, if for no other reason, so we can leave the ECHR!

      5. MFD
        July 2, 2022

        Well said, David. Its time our PM acted like Churchhill who we are he admires.
        T
        Now is the time to put down the European trash and make them take the knee or suffer.

      6. Jason
        July 2, 2022

        And it can be said the act of union itself is illegal – brought about by coercion bribery and corruption – we could say the whole thing can be disapplied

      7. Jamie
        July 3, 2022

        International law most certainly does exist.. there are numerous examples of it like the law of the seas to guide mariners also to do with all kinds of pollution and protection of the environment and whales birds etc etc not to mention the care of Antartica and even Space itself that is becoming cluttered with debris. Then there are agreements about mining and harvesting in other far flung non national non flag regions like the Arctic and mid ocean.. so don’t tell me there is no international law

  3. Javelin
    July 2, 2022

    The REALITY is that the politicians in senior positions all want to be part of a global international network. The majority of the public do not.

    This has created enormous tensions between the majority of the people and their leaders. The leaders lie, propagandise, obsfucate, play-act, deceive, coordinate, distract, spin etc. The people see them doing this and the comment section in EVERY paper is packed with comments saying the same.

    The leaders are now so busy hiding their actions and policies they are now ruining this country and other western countries, socially, economically, cohesively and politically because their agenda is so appalling.

    Everybody can see it. It’s created a democratic vacuum.

    1. Bloke
      July 2, 2022

      HM’s Opposition is supposed to keep the Govt in check, ensuring it does good things to make the UK better.

      The Labour Party works backward. Many of their MPs use their role in opposition to oppose the UK and make matters worse for our citizens.

      1. Mark B
        July 2, 2022

        They do so because they know that the government is weak, morally bankrupt and devoid of ideas. And yet, despite all that, Labour are still unelectable.

    2. BOF
      July 2, 2022

      Well said Javelin, well said.

    3. Sharon
      July 2, 2022

      Javelin

      I agree about the comments on every platform saying much the same. The leaders are like spoilt little children, doing what they want. And it seems they bring out the worst in each other and just keep re-affirming to one another that what they’re doing is the right thing. Meanwhile, in the real world…. havoc is being wreaked! And still the leaders chunter on, smiling and congratulating themselves on how they are!

      1. Sir Joe Soap
        July 2, 2022

        Yes from partygate to pincher (sic), it’s the same story.

    4. glen cullen
      July 2, 2022

      The divide is getting bigger
      We don’t trust them and they ignore us

  4. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    July 2, 2022

    Very few people in Northern Ireland (5%) believe that Westminster is acting in their interest.
    From an interesting June 2022 poll by the Queens University Belfast:

    “The UK government is by far the most distrusted (84% distrust including 55% strongly distrust) and least trusted (5% trust) of all actors”

    (source: Testing The Temperature 5. What Do Voters In Northern Ireland Think About The Protocol On Ireland/Northern Ireland?)

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      July 2, 2022

      Ha well they can get rid of the UK government and replace it then, with one which defers to the EU if they really want that!

      1. MFD
        July 2, 2022

        NO they deserve protection like every other citizen in the British Isles. What a snide remark, shows you for what you are! Soapy.

    2. ukretired123
      July 2, 2022

      Reply to PETER VAN LEEUWEN
      We voted to stop the EU and its supporters interfering in UK matters. Whilst it is kind to offer help so far the EU does not understand Britain not the UK and has been working against our interests especially on the NIP.

      1. ukretired123
        July 2, 2022

        nor i.e. Ignoring the Spirit of the protocol and the Letter – very important in our laws.

        1. Bill brown
          July 2, 2022

          Ukretired

          It’s interesting that the people of Northern Ireland think differently to you, I wonder why?
          Maybe it is because they have more growth than we do

          1. ukretired123
            July 2, 2022

            Bill Brown EU supporter in Europe and PVL too:-
            Question “It’s interesting that the people of Northern Ireland think differently to you, I wonder why?”
            Answer
            Motto ” If in doubt check it out”
            1. QUB Professor David Phinnemore is the Jean Monnet Chair in European Political Science. Expert on further EU integration.
            2. Professor , Katy Hayward:-
            Simon Coveney defends QUB professor after her independence is questioned by Kate Hoey and Jamie Bryson
            So the authors of this so called statistical analysis are totally unbiased are they not and I believe they reflect the people of Northern Ireland not – more like the EU whose ideas of future integration they are wedded to.
            Yours truly unconvinced.

      2. Peter van LEEUWEN
        July 2, 2022

        @UKRETIRED123:
        I would think that the opinion of the people of Norther Ireland itself matters most.
        This is an intersting poll to study. It can easily be found online.

        1. X-Tory
          July 2, 2022

          NO. It really annoys me that the debate about the Protocol has revolved entirely around Northern Ireland, but the one thing about the Protocol that not a single politician has mentioned is this: it is most damaging to businesses on the mainland, HERE IN GREAT BRITAIN. Because it makes moving goods (and especially food) from GB to NI more difficult (and sometimes actually impossible) it harms the businesses making those goods here on the mainland. So scrapping the Protocol will be good for the WHOLE of the UK. This is NOT just a Northern Irish issue.

          1. Peter Parsons
            July 2, 2022

            Putting up barriers to trade damages trade. That is self-evident. Brexit was partly about putting up barriers, so negative effects should not come as a surprise

        2. ukretired123
          July 2, 2022

          The authors are pro-EU.
          E.g. QUB Professor Katy Hayward was criticised for debating NIP :
          “Typical of BBC to specifically request her to be in @bbcquestiontime audience and treat her as an independent Professor.”
          Suggest you check out who the authors represent and who pays for this so called independent report.
          Statistics is not an exact science especially where people are involved.

          1. Bill brown
            July 3, 2022

            No but this is an opinion poll so it is a good reflection because it is so clear

        3. ukretired123
          July 2, 2022

          Reply to Peter VL
          Ever heard of a famous British saying “MNDA applies” bias?

          1. ukretired123
            July 2, 2022

            MRDA

          2. Peter van LEEUWEN
            July 2, 2022

            @UKRETIRED123:
            you are attacking the messenger when you don’t like the message, but such a very strong response in a poll could in that case only be manufactured by massive fraud. Is that possible by UK universities??? I doubt that very much!
            Yours truly unconvinced by you.

          3. bill brown
            July 3, 2022

            UKretired 123,

            You should probably try to be bid more open to realities and the facts of the population of NI

    3. graham1946
      July 2, 2022

      Very few people in the UK as a whole reckon this government is acting in their interests.

      1. Lifelogic
        July 2, 2022

        Indeed net zero rip off unreliable energy is certainly not in the UK’s interests, nor are the absurdly high manifesto ratting current tax rates, nor the endless government waste like HS2, the open door low skilled immigration nor the absurd over regulation of everything, Nor the appallingly run “public services” like the NHS, DVLA, Land Registry, most university courses, often dire schools, the mad and obscene attacks on landlords, the often blocked & usually pot holed roads …

    4. Mickey Taking
      July 2, 2022

      ‘Very few people in Northern Ireland (5%) believe that Westminster is acting in their interest.’
      So do the other 95% think EU is acting in their interest?

    5. Mark B
      July 2, 2022

      And you can include England, Scotland and Wales too. Hardly news in these parts.

  5. Javelin
    July 2, 2022

    This is worth reading. Two weeks before the election Trump signed an executive order allowing the deep state to be fired.

    Far too late Trump signed an executive order meaning that any Federal employee who decided upon policy or made decisions was subject to Schedule F. This meant they could be fired. In other words the “deep state” could be fired just like any private employee. However there was not time for this to take effect. Biden cancelled it immediately.

    This is why Western Governments around the world fear Trump returning. He has good knowledge of the deep state and he has thought through how to destroy it. Taking 4 years off has allowed him to retrench, plan and devise a way he can destroy the deep state.

    https://brownstone.org/articles/the-astonishing-implications-of-schedule-f/

    https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-creating-schedule-f-excepted-service/

    1. Sharon
      July 2, 2022

      Thank you for these two links Javelin. We have a deep state here too, I’m sure. Was Dominic Cummings our schedule F maker? Now both he and Trump are gone – interesting.

    2. Jackie
      July 2, 2022

      Why would anyone in their right minds congratulate a Foreign secretary on breaking international law? unless they themselves were completely deluded.

      She replies that the bill is necessary and legal – and of course it is all legal in UK, in fact very legal, but only in tory/DUP minds – legality or otherwise we can be sure it will be fully tested on the world stage with the eventful fallout – and there will be fallout.

      Then of course most grown-ups know it’s not the way to do international business and she will learn soon enough – only she already knows but alas with an eye on the greasy pole and just like Boris she doesn’t care either.

      Thing is nobody yet knows what the knock-on effects of this proposed action is going to be – but in the meantime let’s go ahead then and sign this new trade deal with New Zealand a million miles away and when we havn’t even got a merchant navy anymore, certainly not with suitable ships and under the British flag, but now completely dependent on PLC’s and foreign flags belching out thick black funnel smoke and four weeks sailing distance away and then with the imminent outbreak of European wide hostilities we decide to negate on our own international law in our own parliament – some government – some taking back control – some example on how to conduct ourselves on the world stage- and some hope for the future.

      So I do hope Sir Jeffrey and the DUP leadership are also making whatever necessary plans for their soon to be demise – after all when UK falls apart they won’t be needed anymore..

      1. Peter2
        July 2, 2022

        You have no understanding how modern world trade and logistics work Jackie.

        1. bill brown
          July 2, 2022

          That I will not judge on what she has writtne but she does make some good points. We still have no deal with the US, China nor India

          1. graham1946
            July 2, 2022

            We do best when we don’t have any trade deals but just get on and trade. Look at the one we have with the EU, nothing but trouble and our balance of payments is against us, whereas as we are in credit in trade with the USA with whom we have no trade agreement and we have no trouble exporting there.

          2. Peter2
            July 2, 2022

            Well I’m not surprised bill.
            My 40 years of itndustry experience versus your love of anything and everything EU.
            PS
            You continue to be obsessed with trade deals.
            Yet most trade with us in the UK and into the EU by non members carries on successfully without trade deals.

        2. Jackie
          July 2, 2022

          Peter2 – yes I do – and when hostilities break out these foreign flags and PICS ships owned by foreigners will be scuttling back to serve their own countries – the Atlantic ocean is still there like in 1942 1943 and submarines still roam except we have no deep-sea merchant ships anymore and not alone that even if we had ships we have not got enough trained seafarers – a similar thing happened in the 1850’s at the time the crimea war broke out when we had sufficient naval ships mothballed since the napoleon’s wars but no sailors they had to go round in the fishing ports and pressgang – I can see it all happening again – we are very much an island nation and depend on imports – but not from New Zealand

          1. Peter2
            July 2, 2022

            Nonsense Jackie
            There are hundreds of shipping companies (and airlines and earthbound transport companies) desperately wanting your business.
            Going back to 1850 shows how ridiculous your argument is.

      2. Jamie
        July 2, 2022

        Am afraid that our foreign secretary tends to take a more simple view on how the world works – for instance sge thinks Putin and the Russians can be whistled up to pay attention – then we can just make out commitments to the ECHR disappear – also the NI protocol can be disapplied on any or all parts – like I say simple

    3. MFD
      July 2, 2022

      Hopefully!

    4. Mark B
      July 2, 2022

      I have just finished listening to the audio book history of the CIA. It mentioned President Eisenhower’s departing speech / warning about the growing power of the military industrial complex.

      Lessons from history.

  6. Shirley M
    July 2, 2022

    As usual, too many MP’s do not act in the best interests of this country, or respect democracy. We have left the EU, and ALL Mp’s should respect that decision by the electorate, regardless of their personal wishes, but instead they undermine our country at every opportunity in the hope they can do so much damage that we will go crawling back to the EU.

    Campaigning to rejoin is fair enough, but to use their positions to sabotage the country is something far worse. Are any of the main parties without such saboteurs? I think not! I think the CONS have their share, starting with Theresa May still doing her best for the EU.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      July 2, 2022

      Our problem is that the Mays of Parliament seem to get re-elected despite being completely unsuitable for the job they put themselves forward for. People who in most companies would struggle to become middle management seem to climb to the top on a tide of bluster and sycophancy. There’s no determination to get things done, but instead twist and turn to square meeting demands of the lefty civil service with constituents’ demands. Look at Sunak. Completely bare faced in saying he’s low tax when his actions are the opposite.

      1. Mark B
        July 2, 2022

        Theresa May MP was part of a women only shortlist created as part of David Cameron’s reforms. May is in a nice safe Tory seat of which our own, Denis Cooper is a resident.

        1. hefner
          July 5, 2022

          Mark_B, What you say would make sense if Mrs May had not been first elected in 1997 when David Cameron (first elected in 2001) had not been thought as a potential leader of the Conservative Party before 2003-2004. … Oh well …
          Another example of people writing without checking anything beforehand (about 50% of the contributions on this blog). Mamma mia, che pasticchio.

  7. Colin
    July 2, 2022

    Is it right that Mr Sefcovic, the EU’s Chief Negotiator, has no mandate for negotiations beyond the so called concessions tabled last October?. If so, does this make Mr Lammy’s contribution a nonsense?

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 2, 2022

      He has said it and so have others, most recently two days ago:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2022/06/30/the-eu-expands-its-foreign-policy/#comment-1326424

      “Germany’s ambassador to the EU has said member states will not change the mandate of chief negotiator Maroš Šefčovič to renegotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol.

      Michael Clauss has said that EU capitals were unanimous in believing that the Protocol should not be renegotiated.”

      And, would you believe, this protocol on how to manage the trickle of goods across the Irish land border is the “centrepiece” of the entire Trade and Co-operation Agreement. They really are a bit mad.

      1. acorn
        July 2, 2022

        You continually appear to conflate the Withdrawal Agreement (WA); containing the N.I. Protocol, with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) which doesn’t. The latter was negotiated separately after the first was settled. A logical process that was understood by seasoned treaty negotiators, but not by a naïve in such matters, UK government. The UK couldn’t understand why they both couldn’t be negotiated in parallel.

        It would be worth having a read of https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/governing-the-new-uk-eu-relationship-and-resolving-disputes/ Also, https://hsfnotes.com/brexit/2022/06/21/the-view-from-brussels-the-northern-ireland-protocol-bill-eu-uk-tensions-grow/

        1. Denis Cooper
          July 3, 2022

          So who do you think is muddled when they say that a breach of the protocol could lead to a trade war?

          That’s “trade” as in “Trade and Cooperation Agreement”, not in “Withdrawal Agreement”.

          The point remains that the EU is making a hugely disproportionate fuss over a very small problem.

          1. Gary Megson
            July 3, 2022

            Denis, you are showing up how little you understand. A breach of the Withdrawal Agreement (including the Protocol) may lead to trade sanctions.

          2. Denis Cooper
            July 4, 2022

            Well, Gary, I have a comment pending about that and this Irish Times editorial:

            https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-the-northern-ireland-protocol-the-price-of-repudiation-1.4725007

            “… there are fears that punitive actions confined to the protocol’s remit, notably NI-UK trade, will not represent … sufficient economic leverage on the British … The alternative sanctions approach, publicly floated by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and backed by many member states, is for the EU to abandon all or part of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA), struck post-divorce/Withdrawal Agreement (WA) in late 2020, and which was always conditional on the latter’s agreement and then implementation. Instead of facing Northern Ireland-specific measures, the UK could face tariffs and possible quotas on all its exports to the EU.”

  8. Denis Cooper
    July 2, 2022

    On topic, for a change, here is a letter that I have submitted to the Belfast News Letter:

    “Who came up with the daft idea of checking all the goods coming into Northern Ireland as the best way to control goods leaving the province for the Irish Republic via the land border, even though maybe half of the goods crossing that border will have been produced within the province and so will not have been checked at any entry point?

    How do we know that something like half of the goods crossing the border are locally produced? Because the government justify their plan for splitting goods imports between “green” and “red” channels by arguing that “only a sixth of goods that move into Northern Ireland are determined to be at risk of entering the EU’s market”; and in 2019 goods imports were worth £11.4 billion, versus £3.4 billion for goods exports to the Republic; from which it can easily be worked out that approximately 44% of the goods crossing the land border had been produced in the province.

    On Monday Foreign Secretary Liz Truss used a hundred words to describe the thorough processes she proposes for checking imported goods which are destined to carry on to the Republic, but the other half of the exported goods merited only this generalised statement: “Anybody who trades into the EU single market will still have to do so according to EU standards”. With no indication of how she intends to police that for local producers, if at all.

    The truth is that checking all imports, but only imports, is not only an inefficient way to protect the EU Single Market but an ineffective way; it is obvious that the focus should be on the exports, not the imports.”

    With references:

    According to the Explainer:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/northern-ireland-protocol-the-uks-solution/northern-ireland-protocol-the-uks-solution

    “only a sixth of goods that move into Northern Ireland are determined to be at risk of entering the EU’s market”

    Official 2019 data on Northern Ireland sales and purchases:

    https://www.nisra.gov.uk/sites/nisra.gov.uk/files/publications/Overview-of-NI-Trade-October-2021.pdf

    according to which purchases of goods from Great Britain were worth £11.4 billion while sales of goods to the Republic were worth £3.4 billion.

    £11..4 billion divided by six = £1.9 billion for the value of those goods that just passed through the points of entry into Northern Ireland on their way to the Irish Republic versus £3.4 billion as the total value of the goods exported to the Republic, hence to a first approximation 44% of the goods crossing the land border will have been produced in the province.

    Liz Truss on Monday:

    https://hansard.parliaiment.uk//commons/2022-06-27/debates/2FA67D37-816A-4F05-AFE2-AFD4CC4D4B5F/NorthernIrelandProtocolBill#contribution-AD51BCFE-E9F1-4364-8F92-03F42F1AF039

    “All those trading into Northern Ireland will be part of a trusted trader scheme. Goods destined for Northern Ireland will not face customs bureaucracy. Goods for the Republic of Ireland and the EU will go through four EU-style border procedures. All data from both the green and red lanes will be shared with the EU in real time as the goods depart from Great Britain. This means that the EU will have this data before the goods arrive in Northern Ireland, ensuring that the EU single market is protected.”

    Moreover:

    https://hansard.parliament.uk//commons/2022-06-27/debates/2FA67D37-816A-4F05-AFE2-AFD4CC4D4B5F/NorthernIrelandProtocolBill#contribution-61E59629-DED5-4184-87AF-6D98DF776DFE

    “Any trader violating the lanes will face penalties and would face ejection from the scheme.”

    While on the other hand for locally produced goods it seems that nothing as elaborate, and as reassuring for Dublin and Brussels, will apply, and it will simply be the case that:

    https://hansard.parliament.uk//commons/2022-06-27/debates/2FA67D37-816A-4F05-AFE2-AFD4CC4D4B5F/NorthernIrelandProtocolBill#contribution-CFD888AB-767B-4BB7-B62E-94AFA19C4E55

    “Anybody who trades into the EU single market will still have to do so according to EU standards.”

    1. Gary Megson
      July 2, 2022

      Denis, it’s done, it’s over. Boris agreed to do none of this back in 2019, and you have lost

      1. DavidJ
        July 2, 2022

        The fat lady has not sung yet and will not do so until we are well clear of EU regulations in our domestic activities.

    2. Sir Joe Soap
      July 2, 2022

      Yes but remember that goods produced in NI, being in the EU, are a beacon of goodness and purity whereas the Dickensian sweatshops of Cheltenham produce sub-standard, dangerous, cheap goods which undercut and threaten the EU single market.

  9. Sir Joe Soap
    July 2, 2022

    Negotiation will amount to caving in. Negotiating with bullies won’t work. Cameron tried negotiating and got nowhere. Has Lammy forgotten what the electors thought of Cameron’s negotiation? Or May’s so called negotiation? History tells us to put the walls up and look after ourselves with this bunch.

  10. Roy Grainger
    July 2, 2022

    “Negotiation” as proposed by Lammy is a process not a solution. It’s similar to their stance on the RMT strikes – they want “negotiation”. Same on the overall Brexit deal, Starmer will apparently “renegotiate” it. In all three cases the side they would be “negotiating” with aren’t interested.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      July 2, 2022

      Not interested and able to hold their ground until the Lammys of this world give in. We end up with the kind of GP service we have now spread across other sectors. The GP contract – a classic Labour negotiation.

  11. formula57
    July 2, 2022

    The Civil Service are going to delight at having David Lammy as Foreign Secretary, are they not?

    Will he go full Sturgeon though and fly an Evil Empire flag on the building?

  12. agricolam
    July 2, 2022

    Just get it done. If talking about it was the solution we would have ceased being where we are long ago.

  13. ukretired123
    July 2, 2022

    Paralysis of Analysis – how Labour weaponise debate to keep the Status quo.
    As Lammy admitted Labour over-debate as a tactic.
    As Sir John says Labour always support the EU and not the UK ( & Red Wall voters who voted to Leave the EU).
    O/T the “Stop new oil” protesters are useless idiots to Russia who would run a mile if in Ukraine. The education system is churning out duds these days unable to think deeply and need a hard lesson in history . Too many are unaware of war is far more important right now and the EU needs us more than ever based on recent events.

    1. DavidJ
      July 2, 2022

      Indeed.

      1. ukretired123
        July 2, 2022

        “We shouldn’t be sending weapons to Ukraine as it’s bad for the environment!” is the latest brain dump from youngsters from the education system on the USA airwaves. My answer would be to send them instead to see the reality and feel the fear before you speak. Get real.

  14. Richard1
    July 2, 2022

    Maybe it’s time for a border poll in NI with the choice of remaining in the U.K., minus the protocol or joining the Republic.

    There is one hidden advantage of this tedious and damaging dispute over the NI border – it makes Scottish separatism much less likely. Scots will not vote for the same thing x10 on their English border.

  15. a-tracy
    July 2, 2022

    I still don’t understand why it is so difficult for the UK to get the export paperwork documentation prepared quickly and easily to anyone who wants to export (yes export) to Northern Ireland, if the British producers are not importing the goods from elsewhere in the World their goods were already EU compliant. Once they have the export docs for their products they can then export all over Europe, the Business department could actually do something useful like train sales teams to go into European trade fairs to sell, sell, sell and promote British made and cleared goods all over the EU not just the tiny, tiny portion that would go to Northern Ireland.

    The Northern Irish wanted their EU passports, their cake and all but it comes with a cost they can’t have the cherry without paperwork checks and they are tied into the customs union and single market and why shouldn’t they be if they want to stay in those groupings. It is the RUK that is being shafted on a regular basis with hold ups on exports because of a spelling mistake on a document, double tax dips that shouldn’t happen and meanwhile we allow the EU to walk all over us, keeping their imports free from checks and problems, whilst it is known there are people in France, Belgium etc putting illegal horse meat into the meat processing systems of the EU! It is all double standards and Boris needs to man up and stop all this prevaricating or leave. If Varadkar and the other Southern Irish mouthpieces carry on insulting us then put the same checks they demand from us back onto them immediately.

    Boris knew what he was doing when he gave this control up, he was told by Redwood and others and in response his reassurance was that there were clauses in the agreement to sort this out afterwards all lies.

  16. DavidJ
    July 2, 2022

    The EU is not our friend; people, MPs and government ministers need to waken up to that fact. Hopefully its present members will waken up and realise that no supranational organisation works to the advantage of the people. Its demise would be welcomed by many of us.

  17. The Prangwizard
    July 2, 2022

    Whatever the Bill contains matters not. Boris will do nothing. He has no courage, he does not wish to challenge the US nor the EU.

    He’s quite happy to continue with his betrayal of us though because he knows he can get away with it. His MPs will stay loyal in spite of his betrayals and deceits.

    1. X-Tory
      July 2, 2022

      Quite right. The Bill will not make one single change to the Protocol or to how it is being applied. NOT ONE. All it will do is give the government the power to make changes to the application of the Protocol at a later date, maybe, someday, never, should it decide to do so. But Boris has made it clear that he DOESN’T want to do so – so the powers will never be used! After all, the government already has the power, under Article 16 of the Protocol, to make changes to its application – but it hasn’t done so, even though it has said that the conditions for triggering Article 16 HAVE been met..

      The Bill is a typical bit of Boris bluster, designed to pretend that he is doing something his supporters like while in reality doing nothing but deceive them. Boris also believes that the threat of action will induce the EU to offer some small, even insignificant, concession, that he will be able to claim as a victory. He is said to be an admirer of Churchill but in reality his policy of appeasing an EU enemy that wishes us nothing but harm is more like that of Neville Chamberlain. Like him, Boris is hoping for a fig leaf concession he can wave and declare that the changes to the Protocol are no longer needed and are cancelled. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself why, as the Telegraph stated, “a separate “kill switch” has also been built in that would allow any agreement reached with the EU to instantly supersede the legislation”.

  18. Mike
    July 2, 2022

    No point in crying now.. we were at top table in the EU for forty years when all of these EU rules were formulated.. we can’t now say we are surprised since we were there making them ourselves and when strictness with complete adherence to the spirit as well as written word were order of the day – and now we find ourselves in a new situation where we want to bend or break these very same rules and think we can get away with it.. amazing

    Reply The whole point if Brexit us to set our own rules!

    1. Len Peel
      July 2, 2022

      Well saidMike!
      As for JR’s reply, he seems to think Brexit allows the UK to break international rules. Rude awakening incoming

      Reply Stop the lies. it is the EU that gas undermined the Good friday Agreement

      1. hefner
        July 5, 2022

        How exactly has the EU ‘undermined’ the Good Friday Agreement? With a list of detailed examples, please.
        You would have to prove that the EU has breached the Northern Ireland Protocol, to start with.

    2. Jason
      July 2, 2022

      Well surprise surprise we can’t just go and set our own rules not when whatever rules or changes to existing agreements impinge on other independent countries – and certainly not without consequences

    3. Peter2
      July 2, 2022

      We were one vote in 28 Mike
      Some influence at this legendary” top table”

      1. Bill brown
        July 3, 2022

        Peter 2

        Yes trade continues but exports to EU are down by 14 PCT and biggest trade minus for past 40 years, and no deals for global Britain as promised, we are doing really well.

        1. Peter2
          July 3, 2022

          1. Trade by the EU into the UK is down too bill and by a bigger number.
          It is more a consequence of post Covid economic conditions.
          2. There have been many trade deals post Brexit which you either belittle or ignore.
          3 You need to realise that most world trade happens without the formal trade deals you think are vital.

          1. bill brown
            July 3, 2022

            Peter 2

            You have not answered the raised questions

          2. Peter2
            July 3, 2022

            You never asked a question bill.
            But well dodged.

      2. hefner
        July 5, 2022

        ‘We were one vote in 28’ : What would you have expected? 2, 5, 10 votes for the UK? Or would you have wanted a FPTP voting system?
        Furthermore P2’s comment is even wrong: the EU Council decisions are taken at a qualified majority: at least 55% representing at least 15 countries and at least 65% of the EU population.

  19. Denis Cooper
    July 2, 2022

    The EU has been threatening to hugely over-react to any breach of the protocol by suspending the whole of its trade deal with the UK, so surely it has now become crucially important for MPs to question just how much that trade deal is actually worth to the UK economy?

    In September 2018 I offered a rough guess that it might be worth 0.7% to 1.4% of GDP:

    https://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/09/21/the-eu-is-more-preoccupied-with-migration-than-with-brexit/#comment-962171

    But in December 2020 this professional analysis:

    https://www.briefingsforbritain.co.uk/for-the-last-time-an-eu-trade-deal-isnt-worth-it-for-the-uk/?mc_cid=89d61f4f70&mc_eid=ee84cb59c6

    suggested no more than 0.2% and came to the headline conclusion:

    “For the last time – an EU trade deal isn’t worth it for the UK”

    While the EU Commission estimated that it was worth 0.75% to the UK economy, page 14 here:

    https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/economy-finance/ip144_en_1.pdf

    I put in Freedom of Information requests to five government departments – trade, business, Treasury, cabinet, foreign – for estimates of the economic benefit to the UK of the proposed trade deal, and then back to trade for an evaluation of the ratified deal; disgracefully the answer is that nobody in government has any idea what it might be worth, and what we might lose if the EU went completely mad and suspended it.

    Obviously there is no point in me asking my own MP to put in a question.

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 3, 2022

      It turns out that I was not alone in seeking this kind of information.

      Apart from Emily Thornberry asking Liz Truss in January 2021:

      https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/politics/brexit-truss-dodges-labour-demands-to-release-economic-impact-assessment-of-eu-deal-216491/

      and being told it was nothing to do with DTI:

      “The honourable lady will be well aware that the Department for International Trade is not responsible for negotiating the agreement with the EU, that’s a matter for Taskforce Europe and they have provided full data to this House and the House voted for the deal, including I’m delighted to see, the honourable lady.”

      – which “full data” seems not to be available – a chap called J Abbot Chalew also asked and got the brush off:

      https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/726177/response/1742000/attach/3/FOI2021%2001002%20Response.pdf?cookie_passthrough=1

      “I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act). We have interpreted your request to be asking for an impact assessment on the EU Trade Deal itself, rather than for example, an impact assessment for consequential legislation required as a result of the Deal, such as the impact assessment for the Trade Bill. With this interpretation in mind, I can confirm that the Department for International Trade (DIT) does not hold information in relation to question 1 above.

      On subsequent requests parts 2 and 3, we regret that we are unable to respond to your request because it exceeds the cost limit set out by the Act.”

      “It may also be useful to note that the TCA sits with Cabinet Office.”

  20. Denis Cooper
    July 2, 2022

    I’ve just been reading the DUP document “TIME TO REMOVE THE NI PROTOCOL” and its weakest point is that it repeatedly refers to “alternative arrangements” but does not go on to describe what they could or should be.

    Personally I would not have bothered setting up a “trusted trader” scheme for the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, instead I would have focused on the movement of goods from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic – locally produced goods, as well as goods brought in from outside.

    I would have started by saying that anybody who proposed to carry substantial quantities of goods across the land border must hold a relevant export licence, if you like they must be a “trusted exporter”.

  21. X-Tory
    July 2, 2022

    Sir John, the reason that politicians are viewed with such contempt by most people is that it is clear that they (the politicians) view US, the public with contempt. So we (the public) return the favour. The Protocol epitomises this problem perfectly. Firstly, we had Boris promising that there would be no checks, when he knew full well that he had signed up to extremely stringent and onerous checks. He lied to us because he had contempt for us. We can all see that! And now we have the government – and even the likes of YOU, I’m sorry to say – lying that this enabling Bill is the answer, when we can all clearly see that it ISN’T.

    First, it is only an enabling Bill; in itself it changes NOTHING. But we all know that it WON’T be used, because if the government really did intend to make changes to the rules they would already have done so by triggering Article 16. So this Bill is just a sham, a lie, and we the public are offended at being treated with such contempt. And secondly, this Bill does NOT (even if implemented in full) give us what we want!!! This Bill still retains a border between two parts of our country. It may be regulated less strictly, BUT IT WILL STILL BE THERE. And that is unacceptable. What other country in the world splits itself in two, FOR THE BENEFIT OF FOREIGNERS???

    This Bill still accepts that British goods cannot freely enter the EU, even though that would be the best solution. Movement of goods between the UK and EU based on EQUIVALENCE, so that each party accepts that though the other’s rules are different they are UNCONDITIONALLY equal and therefore there is no need for ANY checks whatsoever on the movement of goods, is the BEST solution for Britain. And we have the opportunity of ENFORCING this solution on the island of Ireland, since the Irish government have said that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES will they build a border between the North and the South. So if we have no border East-West this will mean that British goods WILL enter freely into the Republic, and hence the EU. So we can FORCE them to accept OUR preferred solution. We can TAKE CONTROL. But British politicians refuse to stand up for Britain and the British people. And that’s why we have contempt for them. You don’t care about us, so we won’t care about you.

  22. BOF
    July 2, 2022

    Now here is a novel idea. Why not pass a short bill to completely nullify the WA. This bill would ensure that all legislation passed before our exit from the EU would remain in place until superseded by UK legislation.

    Now that would finally get Brexit done. Better to endure a short spell of shouting and screaming from across the channel than have years and years of agro and mean spirited undermining of our country.

    Or is Johnson too timid, too full of appeasement, to grasp the nettle?

    1. Mike
      July 2, 2022

      Better still why don’t we nullify the Act of Union that should bring us right back to the early 1700’s and we can start afresh.

    2. anon
      July 3, 2022

      And stop making payments to the EU of billions which were never legally required.

  23. DOM
    July 2, 2022

    We can’t hope to win against the ‘enemy within’ (progressives) and the ‘enemy without’ (Washington and Brussels) both united and determined in destroying the UK. Even this royal family is now controlled by both international bodies and internal woke organisations

    It’s game over for this nation though some would say we signed its death warrant when we chose to join the EEC under Heath with these self inflicted wounds of voting for incumbent parties who chose to feed rather than serve

    1. The Prangwizard
      July 2, 2022

      I will second you on this Dom. We have almost no-one to protect us and traditional freedoms. Those who do must be supported in every way.

      Sadly the only people and groups who can be relied upon are not within tbe present structure. Those within are only pretenders because they like their comforts.

    2. Mark B
      July 2, 2022

      We didn’t choose to join we just joined. Albeit very narrowly. We got a vote to REMAIN in the EEC, or Common Market as is was cunningly referred to. People were really not fully aware what it all meant. We soon found out and our relationship with it was always fraught.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    July 3, 2022

    The red channel and green channel idea for goods travelling between the UK mainland and Northern Ireland is manifestly sensible and workable. Don’t worry about the alleged threat to the Good Friday Agreement. Irish Republicans and their sympathisers will never cancel that; it gives them far more than they deserve.

    The green channel goods would be none of the EU’s or Irish Republic’s business [nor that of the US’s Irish American President]. What the EU and the Republic of Ireland do about ‘red channel’ goods is up to them. Checks at all border crossings would not be practical – there are too many of them. But if the Republic of Ireland were to build four or five check-in centres some 10 to 20 miles inside the Republic, we could go along with that.

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