My intervention in the Northern Ireland Protocol Committee (Day 3) debate

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP (Wokingham) (Con): Has the hon. Gentleman or his party ever once lobbied the EU in public or in private to shift its position to accommodate the very reasonable grievances and to deal with its illegalities under the protocol?

Stephen Doughty, Shadow Minister, Foreign and Commonwealth and International Development: I do not agree with the last part of what the right hon. Gentleman said, but actually I sat around the table with EU ambassadors and, indeed, the EU ambassador to the UK to discuss these very issues just weeks ago, so I have sat down in private, and we have said so publicly on a number of occasions. The right hon. Gentleman should be reassured on that point.


  1. Mickey Taking
    July 22, 2022

    off topic.
    As he goes head-to-head with foreign secretary Liz Truss during the Conservative Party leadership race in a bid to succeed Boris Johnson, his supporters have insisted that he had a “modest” upbringing.
    In recent weeks, his allies have claimed that he had won a scholarship to the private school Winchester College, which currently commands fees of £46,000 a year for a boarding pupil and £34,000 per year for a day pupil.
    But research reported by Channel 4 News on Thursday evening has confirmed that the former chancellor did not receive a scholarship.
    It unearthed a rarely-seen interview from 2000 showing his father saying that he and his wife made a “large financial commitment” for their eldest child’s education.

    1. Peter Parsons
      July 22, 2022

      Sounds like both of them are attempting to talk down their upbringings.

    2. Javelin
      July 23, 2022

      Remoaner MPs who have been back stabbing Brexiteers for years, going against party policy, fighting against the democratic mandates and voting for Rishi will be wringing their hands together and calling for party unity.

  2. glen cullen
    July 22, 2022

    Its all balderdash, a bit like our EU divorce bill, Boris said he wouldn’t pay a penny, the Lords said we didn’t in law have to anything, but our government settled the ‘deal’ by agreeing to pay £35bn, and today the BBC are reporting that that divorce bill has been increased to £42.5bn….its all EU

    Its about time we left the EU and all its institutions, its treaties and protocols

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      July 22, 2022

      By “shift its – the European Union’s – position” Sir John actually means “tear up the fundamentals of its treaties”

      It is preposterous to expect that, the very opposite of “reasonable”.

      These are Tories, however.

      1. Peter2
        July 22, 2022

        No it just means alter elements that need changing.
        Calm down NHL.
        Interpretation by the EU has not been fair or reasonable.
        Stopping well known supermarket lorries for lengthy physical checks when it is quite obvious the lorry has straightforward replenishments on board for another of their branches in Nothern Ireland
        Do you think there is a risk that a well known supermarket chain is likely to secretly divert that lorry over the border to try to sell shoddy goods I to the Republic?

    2. Gary Megson
      July 23, 2022

      Glen, we have left the EU. We did so two and a half years ago. Everything you are now complaining about – payments, illegal migrants, blockages at Dover, the seperation of Northern Ireland from Great Britain – are the direct consequences of Brexit. You voted for it, own it. And I’ve got news for you. It’s going to get worse, much worse. The EU is not going away, its members are our neighbours and biggest trading partners and holiday destinations too, and every decision the EU takes in future will be on behalf of its members, not on behalf of the UK. That is what Brexit is – a massive loss of power and influence. You voted for it, own it

      1. glen cullen
        July 23, 2022

        Sorry I’m still waiting for the memo informing me that we’ve left the EU and all its institutions and that we’re truly sovereign …and we don’t have to follow any of their laws, regulations or instructions, we don’t have to follow any court judgements or decisions, we don’t have to fund any projects nor fund any future costs or pay tribute….
        I just want what was written on the ballot …’leave’

        1. Matt
          July 26, 2022

          Sheer idiocy, you either morph into North Korea or you find solutions that are workable, practicable and protect the economy. Brexiteers seem to live in a fa stash world where the UK has oversized influence, is the bigger party in negotiations and a weird belief that it’s neighbours also are sovereign, have influence and only cooperation will solve things such as illegal migration, conflicts or environmental challenges

          1. Matt
            July 26, 2022

            Sovereignty works both ways. The more sovereignty you have the less power you have to influence your closest neighbours through joint agreements / action / commitments and common interests. Complete sovereignty is possible but ironically brings you less cleft, influence and power in many areas and compromises economic prospects sometimes severely. That is the harsh truth beyond the identity politics, misleading jingoism and simple slogans of mr Redwood

  3. Denis Cooper
    July 22, 2022

    I wouldn’t be reassured until I knew whether he was working for or against us during that meeting.

    From November 2021:

    “This is how we got into this mess – through UK politicians whose primary loyalty is to the EU … ”

    “Hain said:

    “If Lord Frost does announce the triggering of Article 16, that is a very aggressive and bombastic move by the British Government, that I … fear has been coming for a while.

    “We’re going to need to work together with you parliamentarians across the Irish Sea to try and cope with the fallout because I think it’ll be significant.”

    So much for any Oath of Allegiance”

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      July 22, 2022

      Indeed, a non-answer.
      “Discussing these very issues” is very different than “lobbying the EU to shift its position”. I do wonder when their wives ask them what time they’ll be home for tea, this type of person says “milk and two sugars please”.

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      July 22, 2022

      One thing is for sure.

      Had the UK still been in the European Union then it could take action through its institutions against France for its alleged failures in dealing with border traffic at Dover/Calais. If the accusations be true, then it would be unconscionable for one member to behave so to another.

      However, the UK is no longer a member, so it cannot do this.

      That will not be wasted on the many thousands of families who are subjected to these exasperating delays either.

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 23, 2022

        What makes you so sure about that?

        Apart from anything else there may well have been EU citizens among those affected.

      2. Mickey Taking
        July 23, 2022

        I have little sympathy. If parents and other travellers are willing to subject them to these childish, hateful actions by the French EVERY year, why keep doing it?

      3. Shirley M
        July 23, 2022

        It is unconscionable for an EU member to treat its neighbour so badly, according to the EU’s own treaties, but it is exactly what we have come to expect, especially from France. They will happily cut off their own nose to spite their face. This is a really good reason to steer clear of a biased and incompetent organisation with petty and ignoble intentions.

        PS. the EU never treated the UK fairly, even when we were members! I wonder if any member country lost as much industry to EU bribes/cheap loans/etc. as the UK? The insult being we paid towards having our own industry taken away, more than most as we were the second biggest contributor and chief cash cow!

        1. Matt
          July 26, 2022

          Sorry it’s nonsense. Most of these issues are the very impact and reality of Brexit. Maybe you should read the small print next time and try to understand what and how the EU means and works..

  4. Bloke
    July 22, 2022

    ‘Doughty’ is defined as ‘brave and persistent’

    However, Stephen Doughty attempts to give assurance that he sat down, and also said so.

  5. Lion
    July 22, 2022

    Weird question. Labour are in Opposition and pointed out the many flaws of the Protocol. The Conservatives negotiated, agreed and voted for the Protocol. And now they spend all their time saying how horrible it is!

  6. agricola
    July 22, 2022

    Whoever may have sat and discussed what it is now patently obvious is that the Home Office has made a total pigs ear of the process before they ever got to thinking about what the end game for illegal immigrants should be. Having coraled them or most of them in Dover, passportless, they failed to identify their origins through language, their blood group, DNA, or finger prints, before allowing them the freedom in some cases to disappear into maze UK.
    Equally once blocking of ECHR edicts can take place and ambulance chasing UK lawyers can be taken from their earning stream. Where is the ultimate plan for eliminating further illegal immigration and the existing identifiable Illegals already here. Are they to be put to work or sent to Rwanda. Elucidate plan A.

    1. berkshire Alan
      July 22, 2022


      Agree a complete pigs ear, which has been allowed to continue for 3 years now, government clueless, absolutely, bloody clueless,
      Latest reports in the Daily Mail today suggest some may even have been landed carrying guns, and whilst clearly this may only be one or two isolated incidents, if true then not only are we clueless and hopeless, it suggests total incompetence as well. Do we not search these people on arrival, for any clues as to who they are or may be. ?

  7. Pauline Baxter
    July 22, 2022

    At ’em, Sir John.
    Keep on fighting for the SOVEREIGNTY of the whole United Kingdom.

  8. mancunius
    July 22, 2022

    The Shadow Minister gave the game away by saying that he does not agree the EU has illegally breached the Belfast Agreement by insisting that every single item sent from GB to NI is ‘at risk’ of entering the Republic of ireland. Any cosy fireside chats he has with the EU’s representative in London are unlikely to elicit any change in attitude from Brussels. They have their poodle ECJ to do their bidding.
    Pass the NIP Bill. If the EU suspends the Trade and Cooperation Treaty, so much the better: declare global WTO and tariff-free UTF trade for the UK. Gloves off.
    Are you lot mice or men?

    1. Gary Megson
      July 23, 2022

      If we declare tariff-free trade, why would any country waste its time discussing a free trade deal with the UK? The UK would already have thrown away its negotiating assets

      1. Peter2
        July 23, 2022

        It might encourage them to be nice in return Gary
        Reciprocal friendliness?
        You lefties see the world as an aggressive and argumentative place it seems.

      2. mancunius
        July 24, 2022

        Typically negative protectionism. That’s EU-think. We are no longer part of it.
        Hong Kong (one example) has had unilateral free trade since the mid-19th century, until China’s dead hand recently fell on it. In Britain, protectionist import taxes during the French wars was virtually starving the poor. The abolition of the Corn Laws in 1846 were an act of UFT, dropping all import tariffs for grain. Suddenly everyone could afford to eat, and industry benefited exponentially. Intelligent negotiators know that – their enemies are not their trading partners, but their self-entitled agri- and elite classes.
        Free trade makes goods cheaper and puts them within the reach of the poor. Your only answer is to keep prices high and subsidise the poor with taxes until the productive classes flee the country.

    2. anon
      July 24, 2022

      With level playing field exceptions to limit “dumping” and to enable self-sufficiency in the UK of strategic needs. We are an island and can be impacted by external actions via certain pinch points and FOREIGN state owned OR controlled companies

  9. Denis Cooper
    July 22, 2022

    Why on earth doesn’t the government just get on and set up a system of export controls to minimise the risk of unacceptable goods crossing the land border into the Irish Republic? It is now over a year since the Command Paper raised the prospect of new UK laws to protect the EU Single Market, there is nothing in the present protocol to prevent that being done, by now it could have been amply demonstrated that a system of export controls was a workable alternative to the obnoxious import controls required by the protocol, and surely it is obvious that in any case some form of export controls will be needed for those goods crossing the border which have been produced in Northern Ireland, rather than brought in from outside, which will therefore not have been subjected to any import checks? I cannot understand why the government is so blinkered and just carries on down the wrong track of import controls, only varying that to restrict the import checks to goods destined for the Republic and triggering the EU in the process. Is the hidden truth that really they want Northern Ireland to remain under the thumb of the EU? As time slips by it looks more and more like that.

  10. hefner
    July 22, 2022

    One of the beauties of retirement is to have time to do things out of the ordinary, like looking at the impact of a University professor among their colleagues. Which I did this afternoon. Such impact has been quantified over the years by various indices, like the H-index linked to the number of citations in papers themselves largely circulated. For such a quest, one has to define which scientific domain (broadly defined) the author might have published, and find where such tables of the ranking of the various authors are compiled.

    One recognised such ranking table for ‘economy’ is the RePEC (Research Papers in Economy). It contains names often appearing in the news, Bernanke, Blanchflower, Duflo, Easterly, Fisher, Friedman, Klein, Krugman, Laffer, Lucas, Nordhaus, Piketty, Pissarides, Reinhart, Rodrik, Rogoff, Schiller, Sen, Stiglitz, Summers, and more than 1,500 others. Whereas the name is somewhere in the database (quoted as with 47 years of activity, 128 articles, 179 papers, 5 books, 11 contributing chapters, 538 citations) his name does not appear within the 1500+ names in the information collated on

    Could it be that Liz Truss’ preferred economist, some Anthony Patrick Leslie Minford, has not made such ripples within the pond of his colleagues, and has possibly preferred spending his time with various Conservative think tanks?
    A question made even more relevant by the sudden resurgence of his name in the present campaign for PM.

    1. Gary Megson
      July 23, 2022

      Very true! It’s not that proper economists disagree with Minford, it’s that they ignore him, because every model he has ever produced is junk and soon proven wrong

      1. Peter2
        July 23, 2022

        Like you Gary they dislike him because he isnt left wing enough.

        1. rose
          July 23, 2022

          I wonder how many citations the 364 economists enjoyed who wrote to the Times denouncing Geoffrey Howe’s 1981 budget?

          1. Peter2
            July 23, 2022

            Very good post rose.
            I remember it well.

          2. hefner
            July 23, 2022

            Maybe as many/few as the 10,000+ ‘doctors’ who signed the Great Barrington Declaration, organised by the well known medical research institute, the American Institute for Economic Research.

          3. Peter2
            July 23, 2022

            Odd that 365 is less than the 10,000 you claim heffy
            What a very odd contrary argument you put forward.

          4. hefner
            July 24, 2022

            Simply because the Barrington declaration was full of Mickey Mouse names, Don’t you know that?

          5. Peter2
            July 24, 2022

            Well thanks for proving my point hef

  11. Mickey Taking
    July 23, 2022

    The expansion of the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone last October has failed to dramatically accelerate a reduction in harmful emissions in the capital, an official report from Transport for London has shown.
    It shows that extending the zone from the most central part of the capital all the way to the North and South Circular roads last year has not had an impact on nitrogen dioxide or particulate matter emissions across London, when comparing data for the second quarter of this year and the same period in 2021.
    Despite the revelation, Mayor Sadiq Khan said the expansion of the ULEZ had made an ‘incredible difference’ in the capital as he continues to press ahead with plans for a further extension next year.
    He cited its success on Transport for London figures claiming that around 124,000 driven within the North and South Circular roads before October were not compliant with ULEZ but by the end of June this year that average had fallen to 67,000.

  12. Hamilcar Barca
    July 30, 2022

    Wow, so this junior minister of state for NI does not think that the NIP embodies a giving away of economic regulation to a vindictive ‘friend and ally’, in a trap without precedent in modern European history. Doughty does not accept that the NIP is driving the majority populace in NI to desperation, without their consent being considered, and gradually prizing away NI from the UK? The Good Friday Agreement is being undermined day by day as genuine and expected anger grows. If Doughty did sit down with an EU apparachik, it will have been with lots of wine, fine food and diplomatic cynicism. The legacy of this government will be of a machievellian betray of NI with lies and deceit. Article 16 should have triggered itself by now given the fractious situation agreed to by HMG. And of course it sacked Lord Frost who alone was doing a great job in pushing back at Brussels. Whitehall undermined him and the PM failed to back him.

Comments are closed.