The EU view of the Protocol Agreement

The EU on Monday released a statement on the political Agreement with the UK over Northern Ireland.

It made clear “The EU plant and animal health rules remain applicable” in NI

It states there will be “ a set of new and existing safeguards including SPS inspection facilities and labelling “ for food trade

Pets will need a chip passport and a statement they are not going to the EU to enter NI from  GB

Goods going to NI will need new labelling

EU VAT   rules still apply in NI with “ new flexibilities”

”The European Court of Justice remains the sole and ultimate arbiter of EU law”

EU laws will still apply  in single market areas to Northern Ireland.


I am asking how the EU will determine which EU laws to apply, if and how our freedom to set taxes will be limited, and why the UK government wants to embed the Protocol permanently into law.

Will there be any way to modify or exit the Agreement if it does not work out as hoped?



  1. Javelin
    March 1, 2023

    EU “bad faith” laws.

    1. Gary Megson
      March 1, 2023

      EU law applies in Northern Ireland. Of course it does. There can be no hard border on the island of Ireland, the American will not permit it – the UK has left the EU, so there has to be a border somewhere – and the only place to put it is between NI and GB. This was all explained to you carefully in 2016

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 2, 2023

        And it’s nonsense now just as it was in 2016.

      2. graham1946
        March 2, 2023

        Perhaps you could explain why the UK (a so-called independent nation) has to run the EU border. Do you know of any other country where this happens? It’s their single market, they need to protect it from within, not on foreign soil, so they should do the border checks on their side. At the same time perhaps you could enlighten us as to what happens on the eastern borders of the EU.

        1. Gary Megson
          March 3, 2023

          Sure, happy to explain that. All involved – the UK, the EU, Ireland, most of all the USA – agree there can be no hard border on the island of Ireland. Brexit means there has to be a border somewhere so the only place to put it is between GB and NI. If you don’t like it, you should have voted Remain – as most people in NI did. All this was explained patiently to you in 2016

          1. Denis Cooper
            March 3, 2023

            Your mistake is to assume that any border checks have to be performed at the border.

          2. Gary Megson
            March 3, 2023

            And border checks have to be performed at the border. That is how it works everywhere in the world – US/ Canada, Brazil/ Argentina, Australia/ New Zealand, you name it. The only place where there aren’t border checks between countries is inside the EU, because the countries have agreed to follow the same rules so no need for checks. After Brexit, the UK gets border checks. You knew what you voted for, right?

          3. graham1946
            March 3, 2023

            Evasive, non answer. What happens in the east? Why doesn’t that apply to the Uk?

          4. Denis Cooper
            March 3, 2023

            If it is agreed by the governments of adjoining territories that any checks relating to their shared border can be performed away from the actual border then of course those border checks can be performed away from the actual border. There is a border running down the middle of the English Channel but it has been agreed that customs checks will be performed on dry land on either side:


            “The UK operates border controls in France and Belgium. This allows Border Force officers to check passengers and freight destined for the UK before they begin their journey.

            These ‘juxtaposed controls’ are in place at Calais and Dunkirk ports, at the Eurotunnel terminal at Coquelles and in Paris Gare du Nord, Lille, Calais-Frethun and Brussels Midi stations for Eurostar passengers.

            The arrangement is reciprocal, with French officers completing Schengen entry checks in the UK. These arrangements are underpinned by bilateral treaties.”

            And it is already the case that any necessary checks on the movement of people across the Irish land border are performed away from the actual border, so why should any checks on goods not also be performed away from the actual border?

            The answer is that the EU and the Irish government will not agree to that sensible, friendly arrangement; like you they prefer to use the largely fabricated problem of the land border as a pretext to force Northern Ireland to stay under the economic thumb of the EU.

          5. hefner
            March 3, 2023

            But wasn’t it Sir John who in 2017 in various blogs told us there would be no problems anyway at any border (11/10:2017, 12/10/2027, 26/11/2017, 02/12/2017).
            ´Outside the Customs Union the UK would have an electronic border for the goods of recognised traders, allowing their trucks through without stopping through number plate recognition against filed documentation in advance. … We will install this unilaterally if there is no deal’.

            There has been a deal of some sort, and the original Minister for Brexit Opportunities and subsequent ministers in charge have kept postponing the implementation of these controls, whereas the EU has had them operational since 01/02/2020.

            So who has been talking rubbish? Or if not rubbish, out of their bum about things they do not have means to improve in any way whatsoever?

          6. Denis Cooper
            March 3, 2023

            And here’s the UK doing it unilaterally in Great Britain; why could we not do the same thing in Northern Ireland, both away from the ports and away from the land border?


            “Inland border facilities are Government (UK and devolved) sites where customs and document checks can take place away from port locations. A number of inland border facilities were made operational from 1 January 2021 and additional sites are currently being explored as required.”

  2. Mark B
    March 1, 2023

    Good morning.

    I would argue that it probably wants things in UK law so that modifications can be made once passed and not have tp be renegotiated further down the line – ie MIssion Creep.

    An avoidable mess.

    1. turboterrier
      March 1, 2023

      Mark B
      The track record of the EU in modification and renegotiation with the UK does not bode well for the future.
      All the time we have a very active fifth column of remainers undermining everything the country wants to do there is always hope for the EU that things will go back their way. All this dragging the process out was a massive mistake. It sends out all the wrong signals to them. They see it as the UK being weak and unable to make ŕeal decisions. Proof the way things are going over there they will need us more than we really need them.

    2. Bloke
      March 1, 2023

      Destination Labelling is an efficient way of maintaining control in mutual interests. Products should identify what they are, when & where they came from, whom they are going to, and other normal restrictions for safety.

      A typical customer purchase receipt exists to prove most of that at retail level. Bulk trade deliveries bear invoices and delivery notes. Individual units, such as bottles of shampoo or chocolate bars, bear labels accordingly. Passports perform the same function for people.

      In commerce, suppliers exist to suit consumer demand. Resort to law is needed only when wrongdoing occurs. There are millions of people living on both the UK and EU sides of the Irish political border. Any one of them who finds signs of wrongdoing can alert the authorities to trigger remedy if and when required.

      The EU notion of exerting control over our tax and employing vast numbers of distrusting inspectors constantly to check millions of items individually is nowhere near a ‘Protocol Agreement’: It is an Act of Hostile Aggression!

      1. Gary Megson
        March 2, 2023

        If you sell goods into the US market, you have to comply with US law – you are wasting your time telling the Americans your goods have ‘destination labelling’. If you sell goods into the Australian market, you have to comply with Australian law – you are wasting your time telling the Australian your goods have ‘destination labelling’. If you sell goods into the EU market (which thanks to Boris’s oven ready Withdrawal Agreement includes Northern Ireland), you have to comply with EU law – you are wasting your time telling the EU your goods have ‘destination labelling’. This is EXACTLY what you voted for – for GB (but not NI) to leave the EU single market. Stop acting shocked that you got what you voted for!

        1. Bloke
          March 2, 2023

          Labelling already exists. Consumers read it to choose what they buy. Without demand there is no sale for law to control.

    3. Bryan Jones
      March 1, 2023

      Somewhat akin to their continuing policy toward a single Federal USE by the introduction of Laws over Security, Finance, and Administration by Stealth Coercion and Dependency until the ultimate is achieved.

  3. DOM
    March 1, 2023

    Sunak enjoys playing politics.

    1. Ashley
      March 1, 2023

      Indeed Sunak was wrongly claiming 1 in 5 cars were electric (he meant new sales). He sounded like a dishonest secondhand car salesman on this and the duff Winsor “deal”. In fact it is more like 2% that are on the road and they tend to be doing lower mileages so less in mileage terms.

      Jacob Rees-Mogg makes a very good TV presenter (on Monday and Tuesday so far GBNews). My only criticism was that his discussion on EVs had entirely a deluded panel all pro electric cars who lacking any real understanding of the science. Mogg tried to redress the balance a little but no where near enough.

      Electric cars are far more expensive to run when fully costed, are heavier, produce more tyre wear, are far less practical, last less long, cause more CO2 and pollution not less (in the build or car and battery and at the power station), use more energy overall, have limited life batteries that are very hard to recycle efficiently. Plus we do not even have spare low carbon electricity to charge them with anyway. Just the depreciation and financing of the car can cost circa £1 to 50p per mile. Keeping your old ICU car is far cheaper and almost always better environmentally too. So why exactly are governments pushing them with large market rigging and tax breaks?.

      Just to push all the poorer people off the roads one assumes.

    2. Ian wragg
      March 1, 2023

      In other words nothing has changed. Just a lot of words with no actual meaning.
      Walk away.

    3. Timaction
      March 1, 2023

      Sunak is a liar. His agreement is a sell out and the truth is starting to come out. GB news has highlighted what he said against the EU. No benefits at all. How can the Tory’s allow the EU to rule Northern Ireland, under its Court. Traitors one and all?

  4. Bill brown
    March 1, 2023

    Sir JR

    Read the full text and get the necessary legal advice and then comment as you wish

    1. Ashley
      March 1, 2023

      Even if the text were reasonable for NI (it isn’t remotely) you still have the problem of the ECJ essentially a one sided political court/referee who can then interpret it as unfairly as they wish too. It must be rejected.

      The EU documentation (PR spin propaganda) released is not even the same as the UK version.

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      March 1, 2023

      Sir John is interested in pressing particular buttons on people whose minds operate mechanistically.

      He does not need to do as you suggest in order to achieve that – as I’m sure you already know, Bill.

  5. Jude
    March 1, 2023

    The way this was delivered without consultation with NI politicians. Was very rude & crass, offering crumbs from the EU cake was not a good plan. Honesty is always the best policy. If this new deal does not take back full control of NI by the British people. This is not a deal but a fudge.


    1. turboterrier
      March 1, 2023

      +1 Totally correct.

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      March 1, 2023

      You mean the minority DUP.

      NI as a whole voted Remain by a handsome margin.

      You don’t care one bit about that though, do you?

      1. mancunius
        March 2, 2023

        Northern Ireland has never been a member of the EU. The vote was about the UK leaving or remaining. As you have already been told several times, only 35% of the franchised voters of Northern Ireland voted for the UK to remain in the EU. That is not a ringing endorsement of EU rule by the people of NI, as the Commission will discover. Those who know the Province can foresee trouble ahead.

  6. turboterrier
    March 1, 2023

    A very good down to earth entry highlighting yet again there are two sides to every agreement and that peoples perceptions are not always in harmony. The PM was rather nieve to go to the media crowing about his success desperately trying to sell his deal.
    Another Peace In Our Time moment for the historians.

    1. Ashley
      March 1, 2023

      +1 he sounded like a bent, dishonest, second hand car dealer that sensible people would run a mile from.

    2. Peter
      March 1, 2023


      I don’t know about naive. I think Sunak thought a great media blitz would do the trick. ‘Sell the sizzle’ to continue the sausage references.

      Most papers and TV sources are currently singing his praises and opponents to the Agreement have not yet had time to fully format all their objections. So no immediate response to the hoopla. Meanwhile, many of the general public may be experiencing Brexit fatigue and will be glad to go along with the media verdict.

      1. Peter
        March 1, 2023

        Tell em what they wanna hear.

        Once you have made the sale, the small print says no returns.

  7. AncientPopeye
    March 1, 2023

    The Remain Rump, and I do mean Rump plus the Mandarins of Whitehall have done it again, roll on the revolution for Democracy.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 1, 2023

      Seems so. The “Stormont” (actually a UK government) “emergency brake” is clearly of little or no value in practice. The deal as a whole simply does not deliver. We can assume, from past experience, that the EU will use and abuse every bit of this deal that they can do. This doubtless assisted by the ECJ a clearly political pro EU court. The deal needs to modified or rejected but doubtless Sunak and Starmer will push it through.

      1. Sir Joe Soap
        March 1, 2023

        I think it’s too early to say that.

        The present situation was clearly untenable with Johnson having told people the could tear up customs papers but then they would be stopped at the border by officials. Totally daft.

        But clearly a Stormont Axe should also be available to get rid of existing regulations as deemed necessary by the UK government or Stormont. The more complicated this becomes, the more it will only be seen how it works over a period of time. Just needs to be welcomed cautiously on a provisional basis.

      2. Richard1
        March 1, 2023

        It clearly isn’t going to be rejected as there will be the votes to get it through. But if there is a futile gesture of rejection from a few doz Tories resulting in this issue dominating the airwaves for a few more months, then a Labour govt becomes a certainty. we may only give this govt 4/10 but be sure a Labour govt would be much much worse!

      3. Timaction
        March 1, 2023

        They can but once the detail is known, who’d vote for either of them. It’s a Trojan horse deal to keep us aligned to the EU. The Snake knows it.

    2. Glenn Vaughan
      March 1, 2023

      You will need to eat a lot more spinach before you see genuine democracy in action in the Westminster village.
      “Hay mas mal en al aldehula que se suena”
      “There is more evil in the little village than is heard”

    3. Ian B
      March 1, 2023

      @AncientPopeye +1 Democracy denied and further out of reach

    4. Donna
      March 1, 2023

      So it looks like this deal was what Gove and Mandelson were really discussing at their “secret summit” at Ditchley Park: a stitched-up agreement to rebuild CONsensus on the EU in the Westminster Uni-Party …… with the DUP sidelined, ignored and betrayed.

    5. Peter
      March 1, 2023

      Agreed. You have people Iike Finklestein in The Times saying :-

      ‘While both sides wanted agreement, we always needed it more than the EU. This meant that a policy of threats was unlikely to work.’

      Finklestein conveniently fails to mention that ‘No Deal’ -the best threat – had already been removed by Parliament, thus ruining our negotiating strategy.

  8. Sea_Warrior
    March 1, 2023

    There are some shocking infringements of our sovereignty here. I hope that the DUP says ‘no’.

  9. DOM
    March 1, 2023

    It’s crunch time for Tory Eurosceptic MPs. Do they capitulate to this travesty and save their careers and party or do they tell Sunak ‘no deal’? The latter could destroy the party and their careers so the former is the more likely

  10. Fedupsouthener
    March 1, 2023

    Doesn’t look like it comes close to what the DUP and people of NI expect. Closer scrutiny is needed before another disaster is signed.

  11. Wanderer
    March 1, 2023

    What happens if we say “no” to all of this? I’ve lost track on this issue.
    Would the Irish Republic then reapply a “hard” EU border?
    In this case would NI really slip back to “the troubles”? This is 2023, after all.
    And what would the ramifications be for the rest of the UK?

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 2, 2023

      Nobody is going to reapply a “hard” border as properly defined.

      But the UK government has agreed to accept a ludicrous false definition:

      “However, Kenny changed the Irish approach in January 2017, arguing for an undefined “political solution”. This was then reinforced in 2017 by Leo Varadkar, the new Taoiseach, and Simon Coveney, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs. It became our firm position that any checks or controls anywhere on the island would constitute a hard border.”

      “No matter where you locate check sites – they amount to a hard border.”

  12. Nigl
    March 1, 2023

    Sunak over sold it. It’s a sell out with tweaks. Politicians fed up with it so will accept everything. Tories looking for electoral advantage rather than doing the right thing by NI.

    EU win again.

  13. Berkshire Alan
    March 1, 2023

    I will wait until the full written details become clear.
    Think the DUP are taking the right and sensible course in doing the same.

  14. Nigl
    March 1, 2023

    The Guardian says it all. Sunak thinks the single market is excellent so keeping NI in it; so much for him being a Brexiteer. More ‘lies’ once pro EU civil servants get involved.

  15. Cuibono
    March 1, 2023

    I have no idea whether this is true but I read that the ECHR building is right next door to the EU Parliament building and that much “popping” back and forth goes on.
    That would make the howler of thinking the ECHR is the same as the EU a little less risible really.

    Did anyone actually trust Sunak over this…or anything actually?

  16. Peter van LEEUWEN
    March 1, 2023

    ”The European Court of Justice remains the sole and ultimate arbiter of EU law”
    The Windsor Framework couldn’t possibly have made China, Russia or the UK the arbiters of EU Single Market Law. I’m not surprised.
    Paperwork free trade with the UK single market plus the (5x larger) EU single market will attract international investments, maybe even from R.O.I to N. Ireland.

    1. Peter van LEEUWEN
      March 1, 2023

      P.S. If I had to expand an industry based in the R.O.I. , why not over the non-border in N. Ireland.

  17. John McDonald
    March 1, 2023

    It is for the Irish Republic to decide what goods can enter the Country.
    If this was just a simple agreement for the standards required for goods and services to be traded with the Republic that would be fine. Only the UK or NI government can determine taxation.
    The Pet passport system shows that the EU is calling the shots. If a Pet can enter the Republic then it should be able to enter the EU.
    Vat and currency has always been different across the border and that did not cause an issue.
    As been mentioned by others , the fact that all this was negotiate in England with no Irish (N&S) input says it all. Another bad deal to appease the EU and a political con by our Government. But what do you expect from a Remain Establishment. So much for UK democracy. EU law cannot apply in any part of the UK. This is loss of sovereignty.

  18. Barrie Emmett
    March 1, 2023

    Once again we have hype in abundance, but as you show the substance flatters to deceive.

  19. BOF
    March 1, 2023

    Such an obvious fudge and stitch up. Just another abject failure by the government with some shuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic . Sunak was going to fix the NI Protocol, well he has ‘fixed it well and truly’.

    Will he be moving on now to ‘fix’ the criminals arriving in little boats across the Channel? Now that he has ‘fixed’ the backlog in asylum seekers with ,effectively, an amnesty?

    1. Ian wragg
      March 1, 2023

      Fixing the gimmigrants Rishy style is to give them an amnesty and calk them tourist’s.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 1, 2023

      +1. Just as he fixed high inflation with his dire period as a print, borrow, tax and waste Chancellor.

  20. Geoffrey Berg
    March 1, 2023

    As I see it there is an argument for accepting these arrangements and an argument against. As it is time to finally settle this matter one way or the other, I say put the matter to a Referendum of the people of Northern Ireland either to approve these arrangements with the European Union or else to put Northern Ireland in exactly the same relationship with the European Union as the rest of the United Kingdom.

    1. Fishknife
      March 1, 2023

      It all comes down to numbers.
      We haven’t the numbers in Parliament to say “Boo”.
      We haven’t the numbers in the country.
      I doubt we have the numbers in Northern Ireland.
      We are in a weak position for a Frontal Assault. Doesn’t make it right.
      It isn’t inevitable that Sinn Féin and the EU will win in the six counties.
      We’re out of Prison, on probation. The Union is in our hands, it’s up to us to make the most of our freedom and fashion ‘a position of strength’.
      The future comes down to “It’s all about the economy, stupid”.
      And that starts with Energy – cheap and secure.

    2. rose
      March 1, 2023

      That is an abdication of responsibility. HMG should make the right judgement and do the right thing. I.e use Boris’s NIP BIll and take back Nothern Ireland into the United Kingdom. Why make so much fuss about the Belfast Agreement, only to disregard it altogether, and the Actof Union and Treaty of Lisbon as well?

    3. Nottingham Lad Himself
      March 1, 2023

      Yes, if the rest of the UK joined the SM and CU it would be a very Good Thing.

      Well said.

  21. Michelle
    March 1, 2023

    As the wise have noted, the devil will be in the detail.
    Of course Sunak was going to trumpet it immediately as a success, and all the party faithful out there will follow suit because well, it’s ‘their party’ and they’ve always been Conservative.

    I read through the short statement on the Govt. website and it does seem like ‘cake and eat it’ but I have no trust in our political system as it stands, certainly not those within it, so wait and see if the devil is indeed lurking in the details. If he is, I wager he’ll be given all the help he needs to hide until such time as it becomes a mute point.

    Next amazing success will be the clearing of the backlog of illegals, aka amnesty. Just keep ’em rolling in.

  22. Richard1
    March 1, 2023

    It seems the NI Protocol bill wouldn’t have worked, it would have been subject to (likely successful) EU challenge and would certainly have resulted in an escalation of trade war and other pettiness for which the large majority of the Country have no appetite.

    I haven’t scrutinised the new deal in detail so rely on reports, but it looks like Rishi Sunak has obtained some material incremental improvements, and the arrangement we now have is likely to get majority support in NI. Obviously it’s a fudge, it was always going to be. We will have to see how it works out in practice over the coming years. With time other fudges may be achievable. I suggest you and your colleagues fall in behind and focus on avoiding a Labour govt. there’s a long way to climb back in public opinion after the truss debacle we can’t afford a big party split at this point.

    1. mancunius
      March 2, 2023

      You forget that the ‘Truss debacle’ was caused by remainer Tory MPs who were furious Sunak was rejected (again) by Tory Party members. Sunak was put in place to pretend to solve the NIP and to raise taxes to WEF- and EU-acceptable levels (having ruined the economy in 2020-21 in the first place).
      I for one am not going to be blackmailed by Tory MP remainers into handing sovereignty to the EU just to avoid risking a Labour government. I hope they lose their seats.

  23. Donna
    March 1, 2023

    All Sunak has achieved is a loosening of the ties that bind NI to the EU, but they will be made permanent. Sovereignty is NOT restored and I’ll be gobsmacked if the DUP endorses it.

    I wonder if this is the blue-print for terms of the Outer Tier of the EU which Macron proposed (Turkey, Ukraine, EFTA Nations and the UK?)

    What a smooth “economic with the actualitie” character Sunak is.

    1. Sharon
      March 1, 2023

      I understand Sunak has said he will push the ‘deal’ through, with or without the DUPs agreement! That says it all to me.

    2. Ian B
      March 1, 2023

      @Donna +1 This is the Conservative Government kicking the UK people in the teeth

  24. MPC
    March 1, 2023

    The moment Sunak went for negotiation rather than legislation on the NIP we knew this would be a sell out. This gutless government will never, for example, reduce VAT as it will be easier to avoid the inevitable roars of anger in NI that would bring as the EU prevents it there. Statutory Instruments galore when Labour get in, bringing back harmonisation with EU regulations. Sad to see Steve Baker selling his soul. This is how Sunak deals with the major issues of our time. Expect nothing material either from his promise to stop the small boats.

  25. Mickey Taking
    March 1, 2023

    What doesn’t feel like clarity, probably isn’t. Seems like more back-doors for the EU to exploit.

    1. Hendron
      March 1, 2023

      No need to fool ourselves the EU has absolutely no
      interest in us except as a market to sell goods into.

  26. Christine
    March 1, 2023

    If the analysis in The Spectator is correct then this agreement is the most traitorous act ever proposed by a British politician. The EU text is not the same as that published by Sunak. If signed, the UK will ultimately be controlled by the EU and divergence will never be possible.

    1. Ian B
      March 1, 2023

      @Christine +1

    2. Donna
      March 1, 2023

      That has always been the Remainers’ plan, since they were forced to accept that a form of Brexit would have to be implemented. The appearance of independence, whilst permanently shackling us to the EU.

  27. Cuibono
    March 1, 2023

    Funny how an agreement can resemble a cheap-brand, supermarket ready meal.
    The picture on the package is oh so yummy-looking, the price most appealing but rip off the brightly coloured cardboard and plastic (oops!) and you have a totally revolting spoonful of mush!
    Style over substance.
    Windsor indeed!! They think that will help?
    Will parliament vote on it?

  28. Lynn Atkinson
    March 1, 2023

    This protocol will ‘work as hoped’. It will drag the whole U.K. bit by bit back into the EU or it will force us to sever NI from our union.

    1. Hendron
      March 1, 2023

      Yeah the whole place costs us too much each year – might be time to cut it off – could be done over say forty years like hong kong

    2. Lifelogic
      March 1, 2023

      Correct but probably both!

  29. James1
    March 1, 2023

    We are supposed to be pleased by the ‘concessions’ made by the EU? Why on earth do our politicians not just say “no thank you”

    1. Ian B
      March 1, 2023

      @James1 +1 An unelected, unaccountable Foreign Trade Commission dictating the domestic policy in what was intended to be a free Sovereign Democratic Country. All disputes are to ‘can only’ be resolved by a Foreign Political controlled Court.

      What sort of Government have we got?

    2. glen cullen
      March 1, 2023

      YES – Why isn’t there an option for ‘No Deal’
      Why is the UK trying to fix the border issue, let the EU & Ireland fix the border ….thats if the border needs fixing

    3. Richard1
      March 1, 2023

      They had no choice. There was an option to say no thanks, no deal is better than a bad deal after the referendum. But the May-Robbins backstop, Boris Johnson’s subsequent agreement (made against the the background of the Surrender Act) means that there is in practice now no walk away. Had the protocol bill gone through the EU would have challenged it in court, probably successfully, and started a trade war. there’s no support for that route in the Country. the best that can be achieved is a fudge, and the Sunak fudge looks a lot better than the Johnson fudge. If after a few years it seems this new arrangement is being used to bind the UK into the EU regulatory orbit then there will have to be a new challenge. but now is not the moment for that.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 2, 2023

        That is pretty much how I see it. This is still unfinished business, but it will have to stay like that for some time.

  30. Pud
    March 1, 2023

    Imagine a world in which neither the UK nor the Republic of Ireland had ever joined the EU, and the Republic wished to join. Consider which restrictions on goods movements from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland the UK should accept in that situation and how much EU law would apply to the UK. Now compare with the conditions the Windsor Agreement imposes. If Windsor is more restrictive then it’s not Brexit for Northern Ireland and therefore not for the whole of the UK.

  31. Sir Joe Soap
    March 1, 2023

    “I am asking how the EU will determine which EU laws to apply”
    I understood that it was the UK who decide which new laws the brake could be put on. For existing laws, perhaps there should be some additional review by Stormont to see whether a Stormont Axe could also be invoked.

    1. Bloke
      March 1, 2023

      A handbrake turn into a clean break from the EU is a better move than driving through their swamp to a deeper mess.

    2. Denis Cooper
      March 1, 2023

      The “Stormont brake” is really for show; it would probably never be used, for fear of the reaction from the EU.

      There is a parallel with EEA member Norway having a theoretical “right of reservation” over EU laws, and this is what Martin Howe QC wrote about that, back in September 2018:

      “If we tried to change our rules or refused to adopt new rules, we would be bullied into submission by EU threats of loss of market access. That’s what happened when Norway refused to follow the EU’s Postal Directive. They soon fell into line.”

    3. rose
      March 1, 2023

      Young Ian Paisley said the emergency Stormont brake was in the boot of the car and under the spare wheel.

  32. MFD
    March 1, 2023

    Sir John, can it be explained why our Senior Politicians are cowards unwilling to put the eu into it deserved place – HISTORY! There never has been a benefit to Great Britain from the eu, money wasted and subservience. Unwilling to throw them out and unwilling to fight for Britain.

    They are disgusting!

    1. Christine
      March 1, 2023

      I always said the EU cannot be trusted so walk away. After this Sunak abomination, I revise that to the EU and British politicians cannot be trusted. With the British media in their pockets, what hope do voters have to see the truth behind this treachery?

    2. Ian B
      March 1, 2023

      @MFD +1 a 100% refusual to do their job in any avenue of our lives – hand it all over to their political masters eleswhere to dictate.

  33. Dave Andrews
    March 1, 2023

    I’m wondering who is charged with enforcing the remaining EU regulations in NI?
    Will those going through the green lane be checked, or will vehicles just drive straight through?

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      March 1, 2023

      Exactly. As for the original Protocol, the unanswered questions will precipitate problems later.
      Really, the backstop should be a referendum in 2 years time on whether this half way house situation should endure.

    2. Denis Cooper
      March 1, 2023

      It’s not just the stuff coming in from Great Britain, it’s also all the stuff made in Northern Ireland, some small part of which will be exported to the Republic. But don’t bother asking the government how the goods being carried across the border are split between imported stuff and locally produced stuff, because they don’t know. Just as they don’t know what economic benefit the UK a a whole gets from the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, and they won’t know what extra economic benefit just Northern Ireland is likely to get from the Windsor Framework.

    3. Timaction
      March 1, 2023

      5% will be checked. Outrageous agreement for a supposed sovereign state. Sunak must go. We desperately need Reform before this traitorous deal is done with no escape.

  34. wab
    March 1, 2023

    “Will there be any way to modify or exit the Agreement if it does not work out as hoped?”
    Isn’t it now standard operating procedure for the UK government to ignore treaties that they have signed but that they don’t happen to like? (Just one of the many degradations of the international reputation that the UK used to have, pre-Brexit and pre-Boris Johnson.)

  35. Shirley M
    March 1, 2023

    This loss of sovereignty has been the fault of UK politicians in every step and in every way. The undemocratic actions of Heath started it, by joining the EC WITHOUT electoral approval. He gave away some political control of the UK. The referendum given by Wilson in ’75 was also full of deceit regarding political control and the status quo won. Subsequent EU Treaties were signed AGAIN without electoral approval. The Benn Act gave the EU the power to dictate terms that applied to the UK after Brexit.

    Our fishing grounds were given away, and will NEVER be restored unless the EU actually dies. Likewise with NI.

    Politicians have a lot to answer for. Politicians are solely responsible for the break up of the UK, for giving away our sovereignty and many of our assets.

  36. agricola
    March 1, 2023

    Please try to understand that for Ireland, Shin Fein and therefore the EU, the end game is a united ireland within the EU. OK if a convincing majority within NI vote for it democratically , but not the way the EU are going about it.
    First I want to see a comparison between the wording of what the UK believes to be the agreement and the EU wording and how they interpret it.
    Essentially NI is still a vassal state of the EU and in finality is subject to the judgement of the ECJ. It is as unacceptable as the occupation of the Channel Islands in 1940.
    Have you noticed that the vast majority of the UK media accepts this and considers that Rishi has done a good job. They have even begun to enbolden themselves by begining the demonisation of the DUP. Rishi has stupidly told them that the deal has been done and they must accept it, like it or not. Their democratic involvement has been zero, as has the invovement of the UK Parliament. In this last case there are sufficient remainer socialists present to push it through, in the face of reality.
    Rishi has part drained the infection but gangrene is still present and he has no intention of applying penicilin or maggots to return NI to the UK cured of an EU infection. Time will kill the patient, and the process could be very painful.

  37. George Brooks.
    March 1, 2023

    Having read this morning’s post one has to ask ” when will our political leaders learn from the past and bury their egos?”
    There was every good reason to believe Boris, that he knew his deal to exit was nowhere near perfect but had a chance of success with reasonable interpretation. That never happened and the EU treated us like a delinquent child.
    The PM has gone down the same rabbit hole, but a lot deeper this time by calling it the ”Windsor agreement” and worse still, in involving the King which he should never have done. Further more the PM can bully parliament as much as he likes but it won’t influence the decision of the DUP. The UK is still split and the EU will continue to punish and frustrate us.
    One has to ask how much influence the globalists exerted on the PM, with whom he has strong connections. He is banking on the Conservative party chickening out of ditching a third PM in less than a year.
    Stand by to witness very little improvement in the problems surrounding the NI Protocol.

  38. Peter Parsons
    March 1, 2023

    ‘Northern Ireland is in the unbelievably special position – unique position in the entire world – European continent – in having privileged access not just to the UK home market which is enormous – fifth biggest in the world, but also the EU single market.

    Nobody else has that. No one. Only you guys, only here.

    And that is the prize. I can tell you when I go around the world and talk to businesses, they know that, that’s interesting. if you guys get that sorted then we want to invest in Northern Ireland. Because nowhere else does that exist.

    That’s like the world’s most exciting economic zone.’

    Why should Northern Ireland have special, privileged access denied to businesses across the rest of the UK?

  39. Brian Tomkinson
    March 1, 2023

    As predicted, this is yet another sell out by this government. Which other country has or would allow part of its territory to have laws and regulations imposed upon it by a foreign power? Northern Ireland should be part of the UK as are England, Scotland and Wales applying the same laws and regulations but clearly that is not the case. The view that this is part of a plan for the unification of Ireland under the EU is not fanciful. Our government is working against the best interests of those whom they were elected to serve. Most of the House of Commons are culpable too as they were falling over themselves to welcome a treaty, the details of which they had not seen. When there is unanimity in that place it is normally a bad sign.

  40. Ian B
    March 1, 2023

    So the agreement appear to be, the UK still has to stay in step with the demands of its EU Master, the tax, trade and legal process affairs of the UK in the UK are dictated by the unelected unaccountable EU Commission.

    All these seemingly political problems come from the establishment being in denial of its responsibilities to those that pay them, those that gave them their power – the UK Electorate.

    This Government has shown its purpose is to keep the UK away from progress, away from democracy, away from self determination and away from any chance of developing a sustainable economy. This Conservative Government has shown that in every section of life in the UK they will refuse to do their job and take responsibility. Their instructions come from their Foreign Masters who have a vested interest in holding the UK down.

  41. William Long
    March 1, 2023

    From what I have read, I have been unable to see how at heart, this new agreement differs in any way from what was there before.
    Why has the King allowed it to be called the ‘Windsor’ agreement, implying thereby his enthusiastic endorsement? His advisers should be sacked.
    We can only hope the DUP will sink it; there is little hope the House of Commons will do so.

  42. The PrangWizard
    March 1, 2023

    Will you resign from the Tory party now, Sir John? It is clear your glorious leader with foreign interests, not ours, has not regained UK sovereignty over Northern Ireland. He seems pleased that the EU has granted permission to us do some, but not all, trading and decision making, which is our right and does not need their consent. It retains control of too much and this is not being admitted by your leader. Some party MPs and ministers have clearly changed shirts and dare not speak out – gutless deceivers of the people of this country,

    Sunak has failed to get the EU out of Northern Ireland. It will as a result now exploit the colonial power it retains there and extend it over the rest of us and your leadership will bend the knee every time. They know they can get away with this because the Tory party is put above above country, as always.

    How many MPs will start to find compromises so they can live with it?

  43. Elli Ron
    March 1, 2023

    Rishi Sunak is selling us for his transient glory, the good changes in the protocol (if any) are transitory and reversible.
    The EU is collaborating with the Irish Republic in an effort to remove N.I from the UK and create a united Ireland.

  44. XY
    March 1, 2023

    Disastrous outcome. As expected from Sunak and Hunt.

    Your party is headed for electoral oblivion. Your one chance is to get Truss back in time for her policies to be seen to be working, a party led by Sunak/Hunt is never getting my vote.

    I see CCHQ has even stitched up the Morton vote (as reported on Guido) – they decided which groups and individuals could vote, on a very odd basis. Which magically turned certain defeat into victory.

    Please get the ERG together and rebel – get these people out of office. For the sake of the country.

  45. glen cullen
    March 1, 2023

    Even on the BBC website, NIP deal ‘at-a-glance’, are saying that the EU still controls VAT, Investments and State Aid …and ‘European Court of Justice continues to be the final arbiter in disputes over these remaining rules’
    If the BBC are reporting these facts doesn’t that mean the facts are settled

  46. Christine Marland
    March 1, 2023

    U.K. needs to pass the Protocol Bill. The EU only seeks to bind U.K. and NI closer. It fears diversification of laws and success of U.K. outside its boundaries. DUP and ERG should stand firm and vote against this treasonous agreement. Sunak has been gulled by EU or is a willing accomplice. There should never have been an EU text and U.K. lite version. The lawyers are finding many differences between the two. He is out of his depth and created a constitutional storm by calling it the Windsor framework. The framework should be ridiculed and run out of town.

  47. Ian B
    March 1, 2023

    It is difficult to see now how we can get a UK Government that works for the UK. Is it the establishment wagging the dog or is it a backbone of corrupted undemocratic clueless egotistical MP’s out to destroy.

    The UK Political system is broken, it only permits Left Wing egotist WEF disciples to gain power. The SocConservatives, SocLabour, SocLiberlDemocrates should all just form one Left Wing Dictatorship. With either one we get the same result “We will not manage the UK for the UK people, but for our masters elsewhere”

    The shame of it all we know there are some that have gone into Parliament with the right motives and aims. But the soon either get swept up by the system or marginalised and controlled by those using 1984 as the Political Bible.

    1. Ian B
      March 1, 2023

      @Ian B

      It is getting to the stage were I would vote for any Political Grouping no matter how far to what some call the Left or the Right as long as they understood and defended the principles of a Sovereign Democracy.

      Blair started tearing up the idea of basic honesty and principles and the UK has been in terminal decline ever since.

  48. Ralph Corderoy
    March 1, 2023

    I don’t pay much attention to Northern Ireland so could have this wrong but doesn’t the Good Friday agreement mandate the UK Government to hold a referendum in N.I. on leaving the UK and joining the Republic if it’s likely Republic side could win? If so, given the trend in Irish settling in N.I. and the different birth rates between Catholic Irish and the Unionists, isn’t it only a matter of relatively few years until the test is met and the vote held? Then, unless many of the ‘new’ N.I. prefer the UK’s largesse, the Unionist’s will lose the vote.

    Correcting my understanding of when the vote must be held is welcome.

  49. Bryan Harris
    March 1, 2023

    What a hash – is the PM really proud of this new agreement? If this is the best he can do then he has been wasting everybody’s time – What an absolute sham!

    Why doesn’t he have the gumption to demand a real solution or quit the agreement altogether?

    EU VAT rules still apply in NI with “ new flexibilities”

    Meaning practically nothing has changed…. but never mind, it all makes great theatre to distract us!

  50. Yosarion
    March 1, 2023

    Did you not measn, The Saxe Coburg Gotha Agreement.

    1. Yossarion
      March 1, 2023

      Youre leader Rowland Rat has more fudge than a Cornish Pixie.

  51. Luca
    March 1, 2023

    Let’s look at it

    1/ As far as I know animal and plant inspections have always applied to the island of Ireland

    2/ Once the food is labelled as required and inspections are set up for the red channel then what else?

    3/ when it comes to Pets and chip passport? I have to ask myself how often each year will I be bringing my pet from GB to NI?

    4/ labelling as above – yes once labelling is set up by manufacturing plant then that’s it

    5/ There’s nothing new about Vat – rates are always going up and down- so just apply

    6/ As regards ECJ you are stating the obvious – of course ECJ applies to EU law but in NI the ECJ law applies only to goods intended for export to the EU – as far as I know.

    7/ lastly as per no.6 – EU law applies to goods being exported from NI and intended only for the EU.

    This new agreement is a brilliant piece of craftmanship – well done to everyone involved. It’s just as Sunak say’s NI is in a unique position with access to both the GB and EU markets – no other regions in the world has this advantage and all because of brexit and the stubborn stand of DUP. Of course I wisn we had this for the whole of the UK as we had before brexit – how I wish?

    Now we wait to see if they, the DUP, will go into government? – in any case if they don’t ?- if will be too bad for them because recent polls show they are fast losing round now to the Alliance Party also as I suspect government will then have to find some other way to manage the situation.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 2, 2023

      6) and 7) are WRONG, because the focus is still on the WRONG flow of goods, imports into Northern Ireland, rather than the CORRECT flow, exports across the border into the Irish Republic. There are no export controls, therefore EU law must apply to all goods produced in the province:,52

      1. Luca
        March 2, 2023

        Denis – if goods are manufactured in NI and sold in NI or GB or indeed anywhere else in the world except for the EU countries then they will not be subject to EU controls or ECJ law.

        Ecj law and EU controls will only be focused on goods manufactured in NI and bound for EU markets.. it’s for this reason that NI is considered to be our of the SM for goods only. I say again for goods intended for export to ROI or EU only. I have no doubt that customs south of the border will be keeping an eye on the whole thing but in the first instance business will be trusted to act in an honest way – howefer if any deviation or criminal activity is found I have no doubt it will be swiftly stamped out.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 2, 2023

          That cannot be correct. All goods production in Northern Ireland has to be under EU rules because there is no mechanism to prevent non-compliant goods migrating across the border into the Republic and therefore potentially the rest of the EU Single Market. If there was a system of export controls, as first suggested on this blog over five years ago, then it would be possible to exclude non-compliant goods from the stream crossing the border while allowing them to circulate in Northern Ireland, but there are no such export controls and it is clear that the UK government has foolishly accepted that there should never be any such export controls.

          As it happens I have been looking at the EU system for market surveillance, as mentioned on Sunday by Dominic Raab, and here is the UK’s 2021 implementation of that system in Northern Ireland:

          “The Market Surveillance (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021”

          In the Explanatory Memorandum:

          “This SI implements aspects of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 on Market Surveillance and Compliance (“MSC”) which comes into force on 16 July 2021 in Northern Ireland. MSC is part of the EU regulatory framework for goods … ”

          “This instrument will make provision in respect of market surveillance for the products placed on the market in Northern Ireland.”

          “2.4 Since coming into force in 2010, RAMS has been the EU Regulation that set out the framework for market surveillance for harmonised products in the EU, including … Northern Ireland. A harmonised product is a product that is subject to common rules across the EU. These are set out in product specific legislation at EU level and implemented by Member States at national level, and these EU instruments are referred to as ‘Union harmonisation legislation’. Manufacturers must follow these rules in order to place their products on the market in the EU. Harmonised products must comply with the rules relevant to that product and the national authorities carry out market surveillance activity to enforce the obligations that exist in product-specific legislation …”

          NB – “Manufacturers must follow these rules in order to place their products on the market in the EU”, which for this purpose is taken as “including … Northern Ireland”.

          1. Denis Cooper
            March 2, 2023


            “2.7 This statutory instrument is needed to ensure that the UK fulfils its obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol to implement EU goods legislation, which has the aim of avoiding a hard border for goods on the island of Ireland.”

            The UK government having agreed to accept a ludicrous false definition of a “hard” border.

          2. Denis Cooper
            March 2, 2023



            “58.In order to maintain maximum market access for Northern Ireland traders, those rules which do apply on goods are applied to goods produced in Northern Ireland.”

  52. Bert Young
    March 1, 2023

    It’s not a bad deal ; of course there are a couple of whinges still but , compared to what existed , there is more than a sigh of relief . Hopefully we can now enjoy a much improved relationship with the EU and , finally , put Johnson completely in the dark shadows .

  53. Michael McGrath
    March 1, 2023

    I am puzzled by the introduction of red and green lanes for goods passing from GB to NI. If goods are destined for the Republic of Ireland, why not ship them direct to an Irish port – there are plenty on offer- and reserve shipments to NI for UK internal market product only. This would surely eliminate all inter UK shipment complexities and allow the Irish authorities to controll imports from GB just as they control imports from any other “third country”

  54. roger frederick parkin
    March 1, 2023

    What a mess. We voted to LEAVE the EU not to do deals. Following the referendum
    every politician irrespective of their personal views should have got behind that
    democratic vote instead of trying to reverse or weaken it. We would have agreed
    with the EU on matters of joint interest and importance and then just left as instructed.
    We now have a situation years later that part of our union is still subject to EU influence.
    The DUP should refuse this fudge in the interests of all of our countries and MPs
    such as our host should support them.

  55. Atlas
    March 1, 2023


    This looks to be a ‘Trojan horse’ of an agreement. Sunak seems to believe his own spin…

  56. agricola
    March 1, 2023

    Does the EU have the power to introduce its laws into a devolved parliament, rather than request compliance via the UK Parliament. The UK Parliament being the supreme authority in the UK, surely they still have the authority to accept or otherwise any EU law.
    For the UK the wisest course would be to remove all EU law from the UK statute book. Where it is considered beneficial, re-write it and incorporate it as UK law. Do not accept any new EU law. As I have already pointed out, you cannot be fined for speeding if there are no speeding laws.

  57. Mark Thomas
    March 1, 2023

    Sir John,
    The enthusiasm of the Prime Minister for this Agreement was enough to make me suspect that it was not such a great deal. Nothing much seems to have changed. I doubt if the DUP will support it.

  58. J.A. Burdon-Cooper
    March 1, 2023

    I heard on the Farming programme on BBC Radio 4 early this morning that livestock will have to go through the “Red” Channel, and livestock producers will have continuing problems.
    I hope our government is not signing up to something thay cannot be changed! We need the “Protocol” Bill as protection in the future, but I susoect part of the deal will be that we abandon it. The democratic deficit remains.

  59. Barbara
    March 1, 2023

    As Ann Widdecombe pointed out yesterday, if this unsatisfactory agreement gets absorbed into the Vienna Convention (an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries), we will have the devil’s own job to remove it.

    No-one ‘negotiating’ with the EU ever comes out of it better off.

  60. Denis Cooper
    March 1, 2023

    Well, back in September the Irish minister Simon Coveney publicly declared that whatever happened Northern Ireland must forever remain part of the EU single market for goods:

    “However, all future arrangements must be based within a scenario, which sees Northern Ireland remaining inside the EU Single Market for goods, he explained”

    Because in the absence of any export controls to filter them out non-compliant goods could be carried across the open land border into the Irish Republic and the rest of the EU Single Market.

    So why haven’t we put in place a system of export controls? Nineteen months since they were mooted in the July 2021 Command Paper, and they would only need secondary legislation under the Export Control Act 2002, and they would not have infringed the protocol, so why was nothing done about it?

  61. Iago
    March 1, 2023

    Will the ground-up insects or the maggots, which precede them, be part of the diet in Northern Ireland?

  62. James1
    March 1, 2023

    Forget the ‘Windsor Framework’ spin. All it amounts to is an attempt at a more binding Protocol 2 being forced upon us. It’s certainly looking like the Conservative Party has finally sealed its own fate at the next election.

  63. Ian B
    March 1, 2023

    It would be reasonable to say a lot of people are frustrated if not angry that someone can just come along and not only trash our economy seemingly on purpose, throw what remnants there are of our democracy in the bin, then just give the UK’s Sovereignty away. Then to cap it all think that the Country should just accept it.

    We need to update Magna Carta to reinforce the premise, onus and requirement of integrity from those that wish to represent us. What little we have by way of a Constitution needs at least to defended by those that want to sit at the top table.

  64. a-tracy
    March 1, 2023

    I am asking how the EU will determine which EU laws to apply, if and how our freedom to set taxes will be limited?

    Which taxes?
    Corporation tax is lower in Southern Ireland in the EU, so there is a precident for lowering corporation tax.

    Your government is following the EU VAT registration level anyway even though we are supposed to be free to set our own?

    From post Raising the VAT threshold “Nottingham Lad Himself. February 28, 2023 “Ministers were told that the EU required” not “The EU required”. It appears that the countries of the European Union have widely varying thresholds and so are free to set them. That is, it is not a “brexit win” to do this?”

  65. rose
    March 1, 2023

    This has gone from being a nasty thriller to a full blown horror film.

  66. ChrisS
    March 1, 2023

    I have always thought that we would have been better off leaving without a deal. The so-called revised protocol is nothing of the sort. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

    I will wait for the authoritive report from the ERG Star Chamber of lawyers led by Sir Bill Cash. With the greatest respect to our host, Sir Bill is probably the person who understands and interprets these matters better than anyone else. I suspect he will be deeply unimpressed.

  67. Pauline Baxter
    March 1, 2023

    So. Is it just Northern Ireland that the so called Conservative party has given to the EU?
    Or is it the whole of the UK?

  68. Kenneth
    March 1, 2023

    The NI politicians were not consulted.
    The agreement includes a role for a foreign court.
    The agreement has been accompanied by misleading propaganda designed to paint those who disagree with at as the bad guys.

    We should not fall for this deception.

    Throw out the agreement and throw out this treachorous socialist government.

    1. glen cullen
      March 2, 2023


  69. outsider
    March 1, 2023

    Dear Sir John,
    Sadly the prevailing culture of the governmental classes is to see Northern Ireland as a relic of empire, like the Falkland Islands, rather than as an intregral part of a united nation, as France or any other self-respecting country would do. They accept our duty to respect the will of the local people to remain British but are entirely neutral on the issue.

    So, even 25 years after the GFA, the main political parties abandon NI to sectarian parties. So “the natives” were off-stage third parties to the protocol negotiations.

    No wonder that , as you now show, key issues were missed, fudged or misrepreented. And no wonder so many Scots, wanting to be part of a self-respecting nation, now see separation as their only option.

  70. EU fan
    March 1, 2023

    It is about who has sovereignty.
    If you read the published agreement it is plain the EU still holds the real legal powers.
    There a few minor improvements but that is all.

    1. glen cullen
      March 2, 2023

      Agree with your assessment

  71. doodling
    March 1, 2023

    Am still waiting to see the fantastic dividends of brexit we were promised

    The great cheerleaders of the brexit campaign should be brought before a tribunal and allowed
    a chance to explain to the rest of us what they had in mind when they talked about cheaper food prices, 350 million pw extra for the NHS, and all the rest about the sunny uplands because I don’t see any of it happening yet?

  72. Ian B
    March 1, 2023

    From the Telegraph
    ‘Ron DeSantis has good news for Brexiteers – but bad news for Tories

    Republican governor says he supports Brexit but warns that the Conservatives will be ‘punished’ at the next election over the issue’

    Everyone sees what a bunch this Conservative(non-Conservative) Government is. Snuggle up to those that hate and despise the UK, competition and democracy. Keep on their side, by trashing the UK every which way.

    It will end in tears once more…

  73. Michael Cawood
    March 1, 2023

    As I feared, HM Government has sold Northern Ireland down the river to the EU. We should have removed the Northern Ireland Protocol from the statute book.

  74. margaret
    March 1, 2023

    i wouldn’t mind hearing what Blair has to say about NI at present.

  75. margaret
    March 1, 2023

    Too many aspects of the so called agreement have been fired out of the canon together.

  76. iain gill
    March 1, 2023

    good look or good luck…

  77. Lindsay McDougall
    March 2, 2023

    I think that the people of Northern Ireland should be given a plebiscite in about 5 years time on whether or not they wish to remain in the EU Single Market. Perhaps the DUP should make such a plebiscite a condition for rejoining the Stormont Executive.

  78. Denis Cooper
    March 2, 2023

    The Irish Times has an article by one Newton Emerson:

    “UK and EU have published their own Windsor Framework guides. Both ate completely different.”

    “Separate guides to the new agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol published by the UK and the EU seem to agree on very little”

    I could copy and paste the whole article, which is only for subscribers, but instead I will restrict myself to this sample which I think is relevant to my discussion with luca above:

    “This is “a form of dual regulation”, the UK guide explains. Or as the EU guide puts it: “There is no dual-regulatory regime.”

    But the UK guide goes further. “It is international standards which apply in practice,” it concludes, “with commitments from the UK and EU in the [free-trade agreement] to maintain them. Indeed of the nearly 3,600 international goods standards in place, there are differences between the UK and EU in only 11.″

    The implication that we have been trapped in a futile argument for years is rather casually made. If international standards are what matter, why not dynamically align with the EU on goods and make the protocol redundant?”

    Of course that is only the situation which prevails now, there could be greater divergence in the future.

    1. glen cullen
      March 2, 2023

      ‘’leave the EU and all its institutions’’

  79. Ralph Corderoy
    March 2, 2023

    I assume the new agreement does not cover what happens if Northern Ireland leaves the United Kingdom. But what happens in that case? Does the whole agreement automatically become void? Or do some constraints remain on the UK, e.g. a minimum VAT rate on alcohol, for no benefit to the UK?

    This agreement should presumably be thinking further ahead than General Election 2024.

  80. Francesca Skinner
    March 2, 2023

    it appears that the U.K. is still governed by the E.U. its like Hotel California you can leave but you can never check out. We have had remainers negotiating our deals for far too long ,this Windsor Framework is nothing more than a stitch up, We have Sunak and Hunt in charge who I believe are both clearly wedded to the E.U. and like Mrs May put there by the Grandees and Remainers in the Conservative party having been turned down by the membership.

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