My question during the Urgent Question on the Northern Ireland Protocol: Disruption to Trade, 13 January 2021

Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Will my right hon. Friend introduce urgent legislation to ensure the smooth flow of goods between Northern Ireland and GB? Is it not crucial to our Union, in respect of both Northern Ireland and Scotland, that the Government keep their promise to take control of our laws and borders and to demonstrate a more prosperous internal market for the whole UK?

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office (Mr Michael Gove): My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. We want, first of all, to make sure that we are doing everything technically and administratively in order to ensure the smooth flow of goods but, as the Prime Minister confirmed to the House earlier, if we need to take further legal steps, then of course we will.

124 Comments

  1. Simeon
    January 14, 2021

    Gove says everything is being done to ensure the smooth flow of goods. Not only is this a lie, but it implies that the likelihood of taking further legal steps is near-zero – because the matter is already in hand. Can we suppose you were dissatisfied with the minister’s response?

    Reply
    1. Dennis
      January 14, 2021

      JR are you frightened to answer Simeon’s question?

      reply No. If you read what I write instead of just writing in your own criticisms you would knoW the answer.

      Reply
  2. Len Peel
    January 14, 2021

    Sure looks like you voted for the Withdrawal Agreement without having read it! Its the Ireland Protocol you missed, or didnt understand

    Reply I voted for the sovereignty clause and assurances they would fix the NI issue before the final Agreement. We now need to use the soverignty clause! I did not vote for the final Agreement

    Reply
  3. edwardm
    January 14, 2021

    Well done. Keep the pressure on. I suspect you may have to ask that question again.

    Reply
  4. Peter Wood
    January 14, 2021

    Good Morning,

    I think we’re more likely to see another NI Union referendum than new legislation.

    Let’s be realistic; the new EU trade deal is on trial, see how it goes for a year, make the best of it and then if it’s too restrictive terminate it. Over the next 12 months therefore it is imperative to get the UK into a position of greater self-reliance on essentials, and alternative trade arrangements for exports and imports.

    Reply
    1. David Magauran
      January 15, 2021

      I believe that Boris wanted to get the best deal he could at the time because of the pressures of Covid. To go to WTO at this time would be unbelievably disruptive. I believe there are a number of get out clauses that can be used in the future if the government has the grit!

      Reply
  5. George Brooks.
    January 14, 2021

    I am certain, Sir John that you will make sure that this matter does not end up in either the ‘Gove’ pending try or that of any civil servant.

    Reply
  6. Alan Jutson
    January 14, 2021

    Gove has given you my exact answer as posted on your site this morning below (still in moderation).

    Reply
  7. Martin in Cardiff
    January 14, 2021

    If you truly value the Union, then it was silly in the extreme to militate for brexit, wasn’t it?

    This was all predicted and highlighted way before the referendum vote.

    The Lords – and people of vision generally – recommended giving each Nation a veto.

    You ignored them, and this is the price.

    Reply
    1. Sir Joe Soap
      January 14, 2021

      No it was silly to be backed unnecessarily into this corner.
      Cards are for playing when in your hand, not for giving to the other side.

      Reply
    2. Denis Cooper
      January 14, 2021

      If anything was “silly” then it was trusting an EU supporter to faithfully implement a referendum vote to leave the EU, but apparently she was the best that the Tory party could find. At least, after Michael Gove had stabbed Boris Johnson in the back.

      Reply
      1. steve
        January 14, 2021

        Denis

        “At least, after Michael Gove had stabbed Boris Johnson in the back.”

        Didn’t do a very good job of it though.

        Reply
        1. Denis Cooper
          January 15, 2021

          Good enough to clear the way for Theresa May.

          Reply
    3. steve
      January 14, 2021

      MiC

      If you truly value the Union, then it was silly in the extreme to militate for brexit, wasn’t it?

      ====

      Spoken by one who kneels.

      Reply
    4. NickC
      January 15, 2021

      Martin, It may have escaped your notice but the SNP were all for splitting the union well before the 2016 Brexit referendum.

      Reply
  8. rose
    January 14, 2021

    The Belfast Agreement is being flouted, for all to see. So is the Act of Union. What more does the Government need to justify dispensing with the damaging protocol? It was entered into in weakness, as a consequence of Mrs May’s idiocy in taking responsibility for the EU border, and because of the malign effect of the Traitors’ Parliament. It needs to go. Let them mind their own border, and pay for it too. And let them do it from their side, not ours.

    We should have no borders within the UK, and if the EU want one between the North and South of Ireland, then let it be between the North and South of Ireland, and not between the Mainland and Northern Ireland.

    Reply
    1. Denis Cooper
      January 14, 2021

      Theresa May sold the pass on that in her Mansion House speech of March 2 2018:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-on-our-future-economic-partnership-with-the-european-union

      “We have been clear all along that we don’t want to go back to a hard border in Ireland. We have ruled out any physical infrastructure at the border, or any related checks and controls.

      But it is not good enough to say, ‘We won’t introduce a hard border; if the EU forces Ireland to do it, that’s down to them’. We chose to leave; we have a responsibility to help find a solution.”

      However; also:

      “I want to make one final point. Just as it would be unacceptable to go back to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, it would also be unacceptable to break up the United Kingdom’s own common market by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea.”

      Reply
      1. Martin in Cardiff
        January 14, 2021

        “Wanting” or not a border is neither here nor there.

        The GFA is overseen by the international community, including the US, and there simply cannot be one.

        Clearly they anticipated Tory bad faith in it, fortunately.

        Reply
        1. rose
          January 15, 2021

          The international community may not have read the Belfast Agreement. A lot of people haven’t.

          Ulster cannot be separated from the Mainland without the consent of its people.

          Reply
        2. Denis Cooper
          January 15, 2021

          Don’t be so silly, of course there is a border.

          Reply
        3. NickC
          January 15, 2021

          Martin, There is a border between the UK and Eire. There was a border in 2016. And in 1973. There has always been a border since the creation of Eire.

          Reply
      2. Sir Joe Soap
        January 14, 2021

        But of course having royally screwed this up, she waltzed back to Maidenhead to be voted back in. Unbelievable. Did Maidenhead really understand the depth of this woman’s idiocy?

        Reply
        1. Denis Cooper
          January 15, 2021

          Yes, and what’s more we now have to call her “Lady”.

          Reply
    2. Lynn
      January 14, 2021

      Quite so. Unbelievable that you have had to say this!

      Reply
    3. Mike Durrans
      January 14, 2021

      Well said, I back your post 100%

      I cannot understand the weakness of Boris, Is he still a secret Remoaner?

      Reply
      1. Lynn
        January 14, 2021

        Not secret, he saw his way to Downing St by ‘becoming a Brexiteer.

        Reply
  9. Mike Durrans
    January 14, 2021

    We Ulster men are grateful for your concern. We felt deserted !

    Reply
    1. Sir Joe Soap
      January 14, 2021

      Do not worry.
      If the choice is between the whole of England rising up to get this problem sorted, or it festering on, we will rise up.
      Trump++

      Reply
      1. Lynn
        January 14, 2021

        +1

        Reply
      2. Ed M
        January 15, 2021

        Franco only came to power as a reaction to Communism. Things might be bad but the Democrats aren’t Communists overall (and after Franco died, the socialists took over – with a vengeance. Lastly, Franco, at least, from one degree to another, a patriot, coming from the army – Trump is hardly a patriot).

        If you’re going to have some kind of authoritarian figure – to what end? What’s the plan? Vision? Not forgetting how easily authoritarian figures turn into something worse (just look at any 20th century history book).

        The reality is that the world is screwed up. Politics can only do so much. Even the benevolent influence of a great political leader such as Cyrus the Great was limited (great as he was). I’d hardly call Donald Trump a Cyrus the Great – the opposite more-a-less.

        Reply
        1. NickC
          January 15, 2021

          Ed M, Some “Democrats” certainly are communists. And Trump is definitely a patriot.

          Reply
          1. hefner
            January 18, 2021

            Trump, a patriot? On 22 October 2018, Trump said in a meeting in Houston, TX, ahead of the mid-term elections:
            ‘You know, they have a word, it’s sort of became old-fashioned, it’s called a nationalist. And I say, really? We’re not supposed to use that word? You know what I am? I am a nationalist, okay? I am a nationalist. Nationalist. Nothing wrong. Use that word. Use that word’.

            I know it might be a bit difficult for you to accept, but Mr Trump has not defined himself as a patriot but as a nationalist.

            And given you do not seem to be able to make the difference between a patriot and an avowed nationalist, I am not sure I would trust your judgment in calling some Democrats communists.

  10. BW
    January 14, 2021

    The constant drip feed of bad news, no matter how minor is just what the EU wanted to be able to convince the others we were wrong. I don’t believe we were wrong. We need to start hearing some success stories. We still have a media that loves bad news especially about Brexit. Why were the Scottish fishermen not allowed to land their fish. Who can the U.K. sue for this. We only seem to hear of one way punishment.

    Reply
    1. a-tracy
      January 14, 2021

      Exactly.
      We import 60% of pig products into the UK from the EU mainly Denmark, Netherlands and Germany. If our politicians won’t sort this then we need to stop playing this game and stop buying these products for a start.

      Reply
      1. Sir Joe Soap
        January 14, 2021

        Indeed. Those forms need checking and re-checking. Every pallet tested before it’s allowed in.
        No more Mr Nice Guy, please!

        Reply
      2. Mike Durrans
        January 14, 2021

        I stopped four years ago as I knew the eu could not be trusted.

        I have sussed most of the hidden imports and by buying at local farm shops and traders I do not want for much but eat seasonal and leave the Dutch tomatoes and Spanish lettuce alone.

        Your money is your weapon against this tyrant

        Reply
        1. NickC
          January 15, 2021

          Mike Durrans, Well said – I, too, avoid EU stuff.

          Reply
      3. steve
        January 14, 2021

        a-tracy

        Exactly right.

        I don’t buy anything from the EU, Scotland, or the RoI.

        I only buy British goods and food. Been doing it for years.

        Ultimately if no one bought EU stuff then those businesses in the EU would suffer greatly. Pay back time.

        Reply
      4. Ed M
        January 15, 2021

        We live in a consumer society. You can’t stop people buying Spanish tomatoes. But what we can do is build up our economy with High Tech and Digital, making the country wealthier so then we’re more free to do what we like as a sovereign nation.

        But we need a leader with a positive vision for UK as a sovereign nation to achieve this. Carping on about the EU being evil will just not cut it – it’s just a form of elaborate moaning as opposed to doing something creative, constructive, positive.

        Reply
        1. NickC
          January 15, 2021

          Ed M, The tomatoes where I shop are from Morocco, not Spain. And if you’re not prepared to call out evil where it is seen then you will get fooled again. The EU means to carry on controlling us wherever and whenever it can.

          Reply
          1. Ed M
            January 15, 2021

            @Nick,

            ‘The EU means to carry on controlling us wherever and whenever it can.’

            – So the way to get out of EU’s clutches is to build up our economy by building up our High Tech & Digital Sector.

            We need to be more creative – now that we’re a Sovereign nation again (even if we were still in the EU) instead of blaming the EU for everything (yes, to a degree, but not to blame them for everything).

        2. steve
          January 15, 2021

          “You can’t stop people buying Spanish tomatoes”

          …..yes you can, quite easily.

          Reply
          1. Ed M
            January 15, 2021

            What – are you proposing Communism?!

          2. Fred H
            January 16, 2021

            Ed – you have a bizarre idea of what communism is!

      5. Fred H
        January 16, 2021

        Let the buyer beware – look at the source -BUY BRITISH (ENGLISH).

        Reply
  11. Fred H
    January 14, 2021

    Seems like Gove doesn’t think your request to ‘introduce urgent legislation to ensure the smooth flow of goods’ is required?

    Reply
    1. Fred H
      January 14, 2021

      now why on earth would you hold this back?
      ‘Moderation’ is becoming censorship.

      Reply
    2. a-tracy
      January 14, 2021

      They have created an API (automated software input of the information) but someone somewhere still has to key in all this information. It’s a process I would argue that is more complex than customs paperwork for the rest of the EU, and more heavily leans on the transport company, who has less experience of this type of paperwork than people actively working in customs processing – a new skill set is required – this is causing the unnecessary delay because it was done without notice and instruction, this isn’t the EU fault it is Gove’s fault for agreeing to this without an adjustment period as we seem to grant them.

      Reply
  12. Lifelogic
    January 14, 2021

    It is indeed crucial, but the problems were entirely predictable and indeed were predicted.

    Reply
  13. Denis Cooper
    January 14, 2021

    Well, JR, I hope you do not believe anything that Michael Gove tells you.

    We know that this problem started with Theresa May deciding that it would be clever to use the greatly overstated problem of the Irish land border as a pretext to give the Tories’ friends in the CBI and other business lobby groups most of what they wanted.

    It may be recalled that when challenged to say what concessions she had extracted from the EU during the negotiations Theresa May was proud to explain that originally the EU had only wanted to keep control of Northern Ireland, but she had successfully persuaded them to keep control of the whole of the UK.

    Then Boris Johnson actually made it worse by surrendering that “concession” and giving the EU what it had originally wanted, and with a border down the Irish Sea.

    From March 19 2019:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2019/03/19/maybe-you-cannot-keep-asking-the-same-question-in-parliament/#comment-1004894

    “All this goes back to the autumn of 2017 when Theresa May took the strategic decision to exploit the largely fabricated problem of the Irish land border as a pretext to go back on what she had said in her Lancaster House speech on January 17th and instead give the CBI and other business pressure groups what they wanted (that is to say, short of the UK actually staying in the EU, which they may well now hope to get) … ”

    Now we are stuck with this mess created by the two of them until the Northern Ireland Assembly has the chance to vote against continuing with it, which will be in four years according to the present agreement, and even then they are unlikely to vote against it unless alternative arrangements have been not only proposed but demonstrated.

    Reply
  14. Mark B
    January 14, 2021

    Good afternoon.

    So basically business needs to sort out the mess the government got into before government will do anything.

    May be if this was first thought through we would not be in this mess ?

    Reply
  15. Newmania
    January 14, 2021

    ..and the flow of goods to Ireland ? You keep saying “we” voted for what “you” want. Not true on a number of levels and implicating the rest of us in this avoidable mess ( one of many) adds insult to financial cultural and spiritual injury

    Reply
    1. NickC
      January 15, 2021

      Newmania, The majority of the EU electorate voted to Leave the EU. Nearly 5 years later we still haven’t got that. The many messes are all Remain policies – every last one.

      Reply
      1. hefner
        January 18, 2021

        The majority of the UK electorate voted to Leave the EU. This is now done but hardly dusted. In the 2016 referendum there were no details given to the Electorate about the exact conditions under which the UK would leave. Since then, under the successive governments, all Conservative, the UK demands and requirements have fluctuated, with the latest efforts led by Lord Frost under PM Johnson, both of who can hardly be called Remainers.

        There is a report published on 28 December 2020 by Charles Grant ‘Ten Reflections on a Sovereignty-First Brexit’, which shed some light on the negotiations.
        Before saying, as you do, that ‘the many messes are all Remain policies’, would you care reading this report, only 6 pages, ten points.

        Then maybe reflect whether the sovereignty ‘ueber alles’ forcefully pushed forward by numerous ‘established’ (as in part of the Establishment if not of the elite they feign to disapprove of) figures might not be among the primary reasons of the mess we are in.

        Reply
  16. Narrow Shoulders
    January 14, 2021

    What is the deadline Mr Gove?

    Reply
  17. Nig l
    January 14, 2021

    Why should I believe Gove. He created the whole problem in the first place when he ‘sold out’ to the EU contradicting Boris’s assurances.

    Reply
    1. a-tracy
      January 14, 2021

      Gove agreed that – Goods are exported to Ireland under standard process for exports to the EU, then can be moved freely to Northern Ireland!!!

      Reply
    2. Lynn
      January 14, 2021

      Gove did not have the power to ‘sell out’ – Boris sold out.
      About time there was a leadership challenge. I am usually silenced at the proposal but now Baker has said it. Baker is not strong enough to be PM. He was blindsided by his meeting the with the psychological SAGE that he was invited to at Nr 10. He found his footing when others outside nr 10 gave him the arguments again.

      Reply
  18. agricola
    January 14, 2021

    Trade in fish and shellfish is also being targetted by the EU in that they are heaping on the red tape.

    Solution, we have a trade agreement with Japan, the Japanese love fish and shellfish and they pay top dollar for the best. Send a government/trade delegation to Tokyo and start selling. If the EU want to play hardball let them suffer the consequences.

    Reply
    1. Peter
      January 14, 2021

      Why not just introduce our own non-tariff barriers to entry/red tape targeting French exports to us or maybe German goods ?

      Reply
      1. turboterrier
        January 14, 2021

        Peter

        Exactly if they want to play hard ball fine start playing the same game

        While we are at it. What the hell is the PM even considering replacing his Jaguar with a BMW. The top of the range Rangerover Velar once voted the most beautiful car in the world can more than match up in
        prestige and statement in advanced engineering.

        Reply
    2. LondonNick
      January 14, 2021

      Talking of Japan, they are crazy for – and pay eye-watering amounts for – the bluefin tuna which is caught in British waters. Unfortunately Boris has betrayed the British fishermen by allowing all the tuna to be caught by the Spanish. So our fishermen, and our economy, lose once again. The extent of Boris’s fishing betrayal and stupidity is off the scale.

      Reply
      1. Lynn
        January 14, 2021

        quite. Until you think of his lockdown policy, greencrap policy, unconditional surrender to Sinn Fein policy etc etc etc. All off the scale. Then he supports a rigged election in the USA.
        We can’t afford this man.

        Reply
        1. steve
          January 14, 2021

          Lynn

          “unconditional surrender to Sinn Fein policy etc etc etc. All off the scale. Then he supports a rigged election in the USA.”

          =======

          He would do, after all Mr Biden is what, exactly ? Expect him to be poking his nose in British sovereign matters, and expect him to have shiny shoes as long as Boris is about.

          Reply
    3. steve
      January 14, 2021

      Agricola

      In fact, Japanese whisky is absolutely far superior to any Scottish distill.

      Shellfish for Japan with their whisky coming here tariff free sounds like good deal.

      Reply
      1. Peter
        January 14, 2021

        You have been listening to too many whisky gurus with books to sell.

        That aside, it is a case of ‘coals to Newcastle’. It was better for the UK
        economy when we were almost exclusively buying blended whisky from Scotland, plus some Irish whiskies and Canadian Club.

        If you want Japanese imports the usual cameras, electronic goods and cars would be preferable.

        We should protect home industry not encourage alternatives.

        Reply
        1. steve
          January 15, 2021

          Peter

          “You have been listening to too many whisky gurus with books to sell.”

          No ,I’ve been drinking it.

          “We should protect home industry not encourage alternatives.”

          …..Why protect Scottish industry ? They want to be independent from us.

          “If you want Japanese imports the usual cameras, electronic goods…”

          What century are you in ? Japan sent most of it’s manufacturing abroad decades ago.

          Reply
  19. BW
    January 14, 2021

    I simply do not understand why so many political figures seem to want the UK to fail. Their need to gloat at anything that goes wrong seems to outweigh their loyalty to the country.

    Reply
    1. NickC
      January 15, 2021

      BW, They have no loyalty to the UK!

      Reply
  20. Sea_Warrior
    January 14, 2021

    And there’s some fishy stuff needing sorting as well. The SNP are doing everything they can to make the issue just another reason for independence. Government needs to sort out the problems and realise the benefits, so that support for independence is weakened.
    P.S. The Fisheries minister’s position is untenable. A nativity play! Really?

    Reply
    1. a-tracy
      January 14, 2021

      The UK government needs to agree to purchase this fish and freeze it from today.

      Reply
      1. Martin in Cardiff
        January 14, 2021

        Ah – communism if Labour did that.

        Reply
        1. steve
          January 14, 2021

          MiC

          Of glasshouses and Stones, Martin ?

          Reply
        2. a-tracy
          January 14, 2021

          No Martin, I didn’t say give it away to a controlled group of favourite people now that’s communism.

          Then find a market for it and sell it on to make money out of it rather than waste it. Or use it for school dinners and make a new set of consumers for a product that we produce.

          Reply
        3. Denis Cooper
          January 15, 2021

          Have you forgotten that it was the Common Market method of dealing with agricultural surpluses?

          In any case this is only a problem because apparently people in England don’t ever eat prawns, oh no never, we wouldn’t touch prawns ever, otherwise they could just be sold in the English market rather than exported.

          Reply
    2. steve
      January 14, 2021

      Sea Warrior

      “…..so that support for independence is weakened.”

      Some might say call their bluff and offer it, without stirling, without the barnett appeasement money, without the HMRC jobs, and without the defence of northern Scottish waters and airspace.

      Oh, and WITH a hard border……actually there is one – built by the Romans. Perhaps it needs beefing up.

      Reply
      1. Lynn
        January 14, 2021

        Hadrian’s wall is 100 miles from the Border between England and Scotland. You have just surrendered almost the whole of Northumberland. The Antonine Wall is closer to what is required.

        Reply
      2. NickC
        January 15, 2021

        Steve, The Scots (from Ireland) only conquered southern Scotland from the English finally in 1041.

        Reply
  21. Mike Wilson
    January 14, 2021

    One often comes across ‘issues’ that are never fully explained. As you are on top of this, Mr. Redwood, I wonder if you could enlighten us.

    1) What at the moment is preventing the ‘smooth flow of goods’ between N. Ireland and the rest of the UK

    2) What will the legislation you are calling for actually do?

    Reply Instruct our border inspectors to let in goods as they did before!

    Reply
    1. Denis Cooper
      January 14, 2021

      Reply to reply:

      If they did that then there would have to be some other mechanism to prevent goods which should not be allowed into the Republic and the rest of the EU being driven across the land border. Which mechanism, let us call it “export controls”, would of course also catch any goods produced in Northern Ireland which should not be allowed across the land border, as well as any goods imported into Northern Ireland which should not be allowed across the land border, while no longer interfering with the importation of goods into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK on the present absurd basis that they could be ‘at risk’ of finding their way across the land border when a small minority of them should not do that.

      Reply
      1. Mike Durrans
        January 14, 2021

        Thats for the eu to stop on the republican side of the land border, how they do it is their problem.

        Not our part of ship Lad!

        Reply
        1. Denis Cooper
          January 14, 2021

          Unfortunately we have agreed that it is also our problem, see my comment about the Mansion House speech:

          http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2021/01/14/my-question-during-the-urgent-question-on-northern-ireland-protocol-disruption-to-trade-13-january-2020/#comment-1203130

          Reply
      2. forthurst
        January 14, 2021

        There is no point in transporting goods across the Irish border unless they are destined for a customer who has to comply with EU rules on the importation of goods. I’m sick of hearing about this border and the so-called complications in enforcing it.

        Reply
        1. Denis Cooper
          January 15, 2021

          But I think you are probably not as sick of it as I am after more than three years, December 2 2017:

          http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/12/02/the-irish-border/#comment-904608

          “When you have an Irish minister saying that they will not tolerate

          “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”

          … when it’s perfectly obvious to all that there already is, and for the foreseeable future there will continue to be, a border on the island of Ireland then there is really no point in any further discussions.”

          Reply
    2. Hope
      January 14, 2021

      How about the EU inspectors. What is their role and hierarchy?

      Reply
      1. Fred H
        January 14, 2021

        Role: to frustrate people going about earning their living. Hierarchy: Nobody above – just do what you want to be awkward, non-answerable.

        Reply
    3. steve
      January 14, 2021

      Mike Wilson

      Re your point 1 –

      …..a spineless PM and the brave republic hiding behind the EU’s coat tails.

      Reply
  22. Mike Wilson
    January 14, 2021

    Mr. Redwood – I wonder if, given you have in-depth knowledge and experience of how government finances work, you could give us a heads-up on what you think the future might hold for us – based on borrowing to date and projected for, say, the next 3 months until, hopefully, the end of lockdown with most of the vulnerable vaccinated.

    1) How much do you think government debt will be by then?

    2) How do you think it will be paid back? Over what time period do you envisage? As long as the World War II debt? Longer?

    3) What affect will it have on the generation now in their 20s?

    4) Do you think continuing high levels of immigration – for at least 20 years – with the increase in GDP it brings – will be one of the tools the government is factoring in to its projections?

    This is another area where I feel, generally, the government treats us to the mushroom treatment.

    Reply
  23. DavidJ
    January 14, 2021

    Boris should never have effectively signed over control of NI to the EU. He was too keen by far to agree a deal with them when he should have walked away. Now it will take years for others to clean up his mess.

    Reply
    1. None of the Above
      January 14, 2021

      Not his mess! Theresa May’s mess.

      Reply
      1. Denis Cooper
        January 14, 2021

        Their joint mess, but rather more hers than his.

        Reply
        1. Lifelogic
          January 14, 2021

          +1

          Reply
        2. Simeon
          January 14, 2021

          Nonsense. This idea that Blowers had to pick up where May left off is for the birds. Blowers is objectively worse than May because, a) he actually achieved BRINO, and b) he sold NI down the river. The treacherous, duplicitous May was, I’m sure, seeking to keep the Union together to serve the greater purpose of delivering BRINO, but at least her deal actually kept the Union together.

          Reply
          1. Denis Cooper
            January 15, 2021

            As far as the largely fabricated problem of the Irish land border was concerned he didn’t pick up where she left off, he went for something different but worse. She boasted that she had extracted a concession from the EU, that it would retain economic control over the whole of the UK rather than just Northern Ireland as they originally wanted, but he reversed that.

  24. LondonNick
    January 14, 2021

    Sir John,

    It’s all very well for you to press this issue, but Gove’s reply proves that he and the government do NOT intend to correct the problem – which, of course, he created in the first place by selling out Northern Ireland in his deal with the EU.

    1. If the government intended to change the law they would have pushed their original internal market Bill through. They could have left the NI sections dormant, but ready to be implemented. That would have been the sensible approach. The fact that they dropped the paragraphs that offended the EU proves they NEVER intended to implement them – and certainly won’t do so now.

    2. Gove proves, yet again, that he spectacularly misses the poimt. It is NOT a question of technical and administrative fine-tuning, but much more fundamental: there should be NO checks of ANY sort between one part of our country and another part of our country. ZERO checks. But Gove and Boris are too treacherous to understand that and too cowardly to confront the EU even if they did.

    I’m very sorry Sir John, but you will never succeed in your campaign. Boris and Gove have stabbed you – and the rest of the country – in the back.

    Reply
    1. Jim Whitehead
      January 14, 2021

      +1

      Reply
    2. turboterrier
      January 14, 2021

      Regarding the back stabbing.

      Situation normal so it would seem.

      Reply
    3. Mike Durrans
      January 14, 2021

      +1

      Reply
  25. a-tracy
    January 14, 2021

    Can I ask what documentation/reference numbers do Southern Ireland companies and transport companies have to create and the EU to come into the UK with goods is it the same as the UK to NI, UK to EU?

    What documentation does Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kingdom) have to create to send items into the UK, is it the same as the Export to Ireland procedure we are expected to follow?

    1. UK export declaration and EXS
    2. Irish ENS declaration
    3. Irish import declaration
    4. Irish pre-boarding notification
    5. Needs Irish importer

    EU tariffs payable on all goods.

    Transport needs to provide.
    1. Routes and identifiers (vehicle ID, Flight No. Ferry booking reference)
    2. GVMS info
    3. Transport charges
    4. EORI no.
    5. Transport Mode
    6. Road, air or Sea booking details.

    Sender needs to provide
    1. Goods description
    2. Value
    3. Net Weights
    4. PO /Invoice Data
    5. Exporter EORI number, importer EORI number, location address

    Post Goods movement:
    1. Commodity Codes
    2. Additional codes (meursing codes)
    3. Certificates & Licences
    4. Country of Origin

    I could go on with the TSS GB-NI declarations process – Scotland need to really think hard about independence and a border with us. Or are you just letting Ireland get away without paperwork and all of this trouble coming into the UK?

    Reply
    1. None of the Above
      January 14, 2021

      In four years time, the Protocol requires the Consent of the people of NI to continue.

      Reply
      1. Denis Cooper
        January 15, 2021

        Which they will have to give if there is no alternative available.

        Reply
  26. Barbara
    January 14, 2021

    O/t

    The WHO, via its dashboard, has just very quietly said that just over 1 million with/from COVID-19 deaths have been registered worldwide. That drops the WHO’s COVID-19 infection fatality rate to just 0.13 percent, significantly lower than the doomsday figures they estimated before, and in the order of seasonal flu.

    Reply
    1. Fedupsoutherner
      January 14, 2021

      I’m sure the ICU nurses will be pleased to hear that.

      Reply
  27. David Brown
    January 14, 2021

    The consequences of Brexit are now slowly starting to have a serious affect on small businesses across Britain. They are faced with lots of additional red tape and regulations and trade is being affected. Travel to Europe is now restricted to 3 months and this is impacting on young people.
    The Brexit majority are old people who have more years behind them than in front. Its the younger generation that’s suffering.
    We need a future gov who will take Britain into the EU Customs Union and hopefully Schengen. We need freedom not isolation

    Reply
    1. Richard1
      January 14, 2021

      There might be an argument for EEA / EFTA if it all goes pear shaped, but the customs union when outside of the EU makes no sense. And there has always been a large majority against Schengen.

      Reply
    2. NickC
      January 15, 2021

      David Brown, The requirement for EU red tape for the near 90% of UK GDP not consisting of exports to the EU are now free of EU red tape. So that’s a win. We need freedom not serfdom to the EU.

      Reply
  28. The Prangwizard
    January 14, 2021

    Gove’s answer was NO.

    Reply
  29. Nig l
    January 14, 2021

    It is now alleged 1 in 10 lorries from the U.K. to the EU are being turned back. This is not your ‘no problem/easy to do’ it is a massive disruption caused by your useless organisation and why are we not surprised given the Civil Services’ abysmal planning abilities etc.

    No surprise either that Ministers continue to be fobbed off/accept the situation because they know they are helpless.

    Cummings got it spot on. That is why he is no longer in post. His plans to ‘shake up’ the proven inept NHS were a threat to both civil servants and leading NHS figures so I believe they conspired against him . Either he goes or we will ‘withdraw’ our goodwill etc.

    Woke Boris/Hancock crumbled.

    Reply
    1. a-tracy
      January 15, 2021

      Nig1 who has alleged 1 in 10 lorries from the UK is being turned back?
      Turned back from where? Dover?
      Have they said for what reason?

      Reply
      1. hefner
        January 15, 2021

        a-tracy, seriously, do you ever check anything before writing on this blog?

        Reply
        1. a-tracy
          January 15, 2021

          Hefner, I just asked a question hefner of Nig1 statement of fact, I don’t always have time and I was curious where they’d got this fact from. I’m going on my lunch soon so I’ll google search it for myself. thanks for your concern.

          Sorry John, I just think people could just mention the source of their allegations.

          Reply
          1. Fred H
            January 16, 2021

            sadly most wild allegations are figments of imagination. When challenged no response.

        2. NickC
          January 15, 2021

          Hefner, Seriously? A-tracey is asking for proof and details, and is entitled to do so. One of the reasons for turning back truckers is no covid19 negative test result – hardly anything to do with the soft Brexit, is it? Do you ever check anything before writing on this blog?

          Reply
          1. hefner
            January 18, 2021

            Hi NickC, did I say anything related to Brexit?

  30. agricola
    January 14, 2021

    An idea Sir John. The military has it’s territorials, why not the nursing service. The basic reason that normal function in the NHS has ceased is that nurses have been switched to Covid care. There maybe Nightingale hospitals but no nurses to man them. Nightingale/isolation hospitals are the answer to emergency capacity but not if they cannot be manned. So a force of territorial nurses could solve the problem just as their equivalents do in the military. Think about it and solve the problem.

    Reply
    1. Sir Joe Soap
      January 14, 2021

      My idea would be to get the military on sabbatical to organise the NHS in place of its managers. Root the NHS managers out wholesale and swap them to train in a military organisational role for 5years or fire them.

      Reply
  31. anon
    January 14, 2021

    This makes a nonsense of the vote to leave.

    Why are our establishment still delaying and shackling us into the EU orbit?

    No discussions just act independently, the EU & France will understand.

    Why are we paying EU pensions after leaving and other EDF payments etc !
    They are not employed by the UK government and as there responsiblity has downsized so should they.

    What is the point in voting when we get served this by conservatives on a leave platform. Nevermind being undermined by the non elected.

    Reply
    1. NickC
      January 15, 2021

      Anon, Indeed, we got a soft Brexit where Northern Ireland is annexed by the EU, we have to comply with EU rules, we will continue to pay the EU to the 2060s, and the EU is still stealing our fish.

      Reply
  32. GilesB
    January 14, 2021

    For the first time ever, I agree with a statement by the SNP:

    “For the Tory Government’s fisheries minister to then admit that she did not even bother to read the details of the damaging deal because she was too busy is unbelievable and makes her position untenable.”

    Reply
    1. Martin in Cardiff
      January 15, 2021

      But the BBC etc. will report this as if it were completely normal, and actions speak louder than words.

      Reply
  33. Alison
    January 15, 2021

    How the government can best ensure Northern Ireland decides to secede to become part of the Republic of Ireland. 1) Sign the Northern Ireland Protocol. 2) Implement it. 3) Only notice all the direct and indirect consequences when they happen – eg, GB companies not supplying NI customers any more. 4) Fail to do anything effective about it.
    5) Be surprised when the people of Northern Ireland say the UK govt doesn’t care about Northern Ireland.
    PS Another indirect consequence: the people of Scotland hear what the people of Northern Ireland say. Their own doubts mount with a fishing deal so little different to the CFP, very poor planning, and abysmal government communications (as usual).

    Reply
  34. Denis Cooper
    January 15, 2021

    For nearly three years I have been repeating what seems to me to be a simple point:

    If you are concerned about goods exported from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic across the land border then you should pass and enforce laws relating to goods exported from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic across the land border.

    Not laws about goods in the whole of the UK, a fraction of which might be taken across the border, nor laws about goods moved between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, but laws about goods carried across the border into the Irish Republic.

    I’ve repeatedly said this in different ways in different places over the past three years but somehow it doesn’t seem to get through to the right people, so perhaps over the next three years I should try saying it in some languages other than English.

    I say “the next three years” partly because in four years the Northern Ireland Assembly will be allowed to vote on whether to escape from the Protocol:

    https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/northern-ireland-protocol-consent-mechanism

    and they are unlikely to do that unless there is a clear, proven, alternative way to prevent non-compliant goods being taken across the border into the EU market.

    Reply
  35. Diane
    January 15, 2021

    Article 16: There is an opinion piece by two LSE authors dated 11/1/21 titled “Article 16 of the Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol offers no ‘ quick fix ‘ ” ( 10 mins read ) Discusses issues regarding unilateral triggering of Article 16, it being a kind of last resort and suggests that it would not be easy or the best route for remedying the new realities in the movement of goods across the Irish sea. ( Search https://blogs.lse.ac.uk site)

    Reply
  36. a-tracy
    January 20, 2021

    I’m listening to people who are having problems with paperwork to Ireland. You need to investigate why The Chambers of Commerce tell us they can’t help anyone until March 2021 this needs action, surely they were informed of the changes for exports to Ireland way before the Average Joe company? Why weren’t provisions in place from the start of 2020 when there was time to train people during the lockdown on home-based learning? Then they say the cost will be £25 for export and £55 for import cost per shipment to cut the docs required to S Ireland.

    Private companies are quoting over £200 – £300 per item inc p&p even if you need the docs by e-mail? Basically, your government has created a closed shop giving these Custom’s Agents carte blanche to charge whatever they want. They are stalling the processes – you need to find out why? They won’t cut for sme’s, they’ve not geared up with the extra staff so you have a bottleneck which facilitates large companies and closes down small competitors.

    Reply

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