The Northern Ireland Protocol negotiations

There is considerable discussion and much misinformed commentary on a possible EU/UK deal on this outstanding disagreement.

The Protocol itself was an agreement to disagree, a temporary holding position pending the full Trade and Co-operation Agreement between the UK and EU. Then there was the failure to resolve the outstanding issues even at that later stage. It left unclear the interactions of EU and UK law and of the respective internal markets.

The Protocol does make clear the primacy of the Good Friday Agreement, which the opening of the Protocol says “must be protected in all its parts.” Yet the Protocol now is the main cause of dissent, preventing the resumption of devolved government and cross community working which lies at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement. The Protocol does not enjoy the consent of the Unionist community, yet the Good Friday Agreement requires the consent of both communities to important matters covered by the Protocol. Most people of good will want the Good Friday Agreement to continue to provide a secure future for NI, and are worried by the current impasse over attendance at the Stormont Assembly.

The Protocol states support for the “shared aim of avoiding controls at the ports and airports of NI to the extent possible in accordance with applicable legislation” . It is to have regard to “the importance of maintaining the integral place of NI in the UK’s internal market”. Article 1 “respects the essential state functions and territorial integrity of the UK”. NI is recognised as part of the customs territory of the UK. Article 6 is dedicated to the protection of the UK single market.

The truth is the EU negotiating mandate does not allow a solution, because it violates these crucial features of the Protocol and does not respect the legitimate concerns of the Unionist community. So far we read the UK may share more of our trade data with the EU concerning internal trade within the UK, with no reciprocation. We hear the UK is considering border control points at ports and airports in violation of the Protocol to avoid checks on internal UK trade into NI. None of this makes any sense, as it will annoy the Unionist community more.

Those wishing to help resolve this need to understand these simple points. Nothing can work in NI without the consent of both communities. The Protocol does not have Unionist consent. It is not just a matter of trade issues. The Unionist Community does not wish to be subjected to EU law with no rights to reject or amend it. The EU and UK should not seek to force a solution on NI that one community rejects.

The UK has been very generous in seeking to meet the legitimate concern of the EU, namely the protection of their single market. The UK could secure this for them by the method of UK legislating to say it would be an offence for anyone in NI to seek to export into the EU products that do not meet EU laws and regulations. There is no case to justify barriers to GB to NI trade, nor the imposition of EU laws on NI now the UK has left the EU. Of course the UK should supply all data concerning exports to the EU that the EU wishes to see. The checks and controls on exports to the EU need not be made at the border but can  be made at the farm, factory or warehouse from which the consignment is despatched.

Article 13.8 envisages the amendment or ending of this  Agreement. Article 16 allows either side to take unilateral remedial action in a wide range of problem circumstances, and seeks to outlaw trade diversion which imposing barriers on internal GB/NI trade can create.

139 Comments

  1. Mark B
    January 18, 2023

    Good morning.

    The UK has been very generous is seeking to meet the legitimate concern of the EU, namely the protection of their single market.

    And what of the protection of the UK’s Single Internal Market ? Now that we are no longer part of the EU, allegedly, should this be not of concern to the UK Government ? After all, the EU seems less concerned with illegal persons entering their realm than they do the ‘possibility’ of an illegal sausage or potato. Further.

    We here in the UK have more to worry about what comes from the EU into the UK rather then the other way round. See Ietm 2 of the link below if our kind host allows.
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/feb/15/horsemeat-scandal-the-essential-guide

    Let us be honest with this. This whole thing has two purposes. The first is to force the UK to keep aligned to ALL EU legislation, and the second, to slowly peel Ulster away from the UK.

    As to creating a law to make it an offense for items that do not meet EU Standards to be exported there, it is a non-starter. It will have to have agreement with the EU and, the will not agree as this is more about politics than so called EU Standards. Those so called Standards are there to protect their business and the EU, not the consumer. And again. If we do bring in a law protecting their silly market, will they reciprocate by introducing a law protecting ours ? Well of course they won’t !

    No other country would put up with this. Why do we ?

    1. Sharon
      January 18, 2023

      A good question, Mark! There are some in the negations that believe the EU to be superior to the UK… why, I really cannot understand.

      I hear PESCO and our armed forces are quietly linking arms, by negotiating with individual countries.

    2. Bill Smith
      January 18, 2023

      Mark B

      I wish your rather radical conslusions would stand up to closer scrutiny but they wont

    3. Hope
      January 18, 2023

      +1
      Ben Habib is a good commentator on NI matters and has a good business brain. Allowing EU to see GB data of goods to N.Ireland is commercially sensitive. No reciprocation.

      JR fails to mention giving away building of warships to Spain and fitting out in NI (while forcing a recession here!) so goods from GB are compliant to EU rules, regs, laws and tariffs! How can GB business be competitive in an EU rigged market in our own country for a national security issue!
      JR fails to mention legislation quickly rushed through to force DUP to cave to EU demands. Nothing was done to Sein Fein MPs for not attending Stormont for three years or never attending Westminster!!

      We read a good article in con woman two days ago about the sell out of military and weapons to EU under PESCO! Suggest JR reads the referenced paper 9058.

      We were promised no borders down Irish Sea, no checks of goods that the UK would leave the EU as one nation. We were told by both May and Johnson it would be unconscionable for UK PM to do so. Yet they did!!

      GB supplies RoI gas, UK provides air security for RoI, UK buys a lot of RoI agri products. Has or does the govt use any levers to bargain or just cave all matters EU? No it gives contracts and jobs of our warships to EU business when forcing a recession here! Traitors.

      1. Bill broi
        January 19, 2023

        Hope

        You are unfortunately getting carried away

        1. Hope
          January 19, 2023

          Remainer Bill,
          What part is incorrect?

    4. J Flood
      January 18, 2023

      Why do we put up with being walked over by the EU? Because our political and civil servant leaders have forgotten that their primary role is to serve and protect the people of the UK, all of them.

      JF

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 18, 2023

        and they perceive to have ‘skin in it’.

      2. The Prangwizard
        January 18, 2023

        Our civil service establishment have simply redefined the meaning of the protection of us. They believe our protection lies with and in the EU and thus whatever they do to promote its power and influence over us is good and they are deemed correct, even subversion of our democracy.

    5. Walt
      January 18, 2023

      +1

    6. Ian B
      January 18, 2023

      @Mark B +1

      All aided by its quisling Establishment/Civil Service that prefer the dictation from the like minded un-elected un-accountable EU Commission, that see Democacy as an interferance.

    7. IanT
      January 18, 2023

      I agree Mark – both parties to any agreement have to act in good faith.

      Sir John has laid out a very good argument why the EU is essentially ignoring the foundamental basics of the Good Friday agreement. One has to have the very strong supicion that not only is this part of the punishment beating we are getting for having the temerity to leave the EU – but also part of a plan to transfer effective control of Ulster’s economy to Dublin.

    8. Denis Cooper
      January 18, 2023

      Of course it doesn’t have to have the agreement of the EU.

      Below is an email I sent in the direction of trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch yesterday, headed:

      “Needed: The Export Controls (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2023”

      Today I intend to follow up on that by sending one in the direction of the Foreign Secretary.

      “Dear Mrs Badenoch

      I see that Lord Benyon has speedily put the Official Controls (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2023 in place, but what a pity that it was not the Export Controls (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2023 which you should be putting in place to control all the goods carried across the open land border into the Irish Republic, rather than just the half or so of them which come in from outside the province.

      I am aware that some people think it is not our job to protect the EU’s Single Market, they should do that for themselves, but if we are going to undertake that task in a spirit of neighbourly goodwill then surely we should do it through means which will be both efficient and effective, rather than both inefficient and ineffective, which is all that Lord Benyon will achieve with his border posts.

      Is there no way that you could put it to the Prime Minister that since all this Northern Ireland angst is supposedly about trading arrangements it would be much better sorted out by your trade department, with its well established Export Control Joint Unit and online Spire system of export licences, through which those exporting goods across the land border could be identified and regulated?

      Yours sincerely

      Dr D R Cooper”

      Just to help things along I copied it to the EU Commission.

    9. Pauline
      January 18, 2023

      Why do we put up with it? Ask Boris, he agreed to separate rules for Northern Ireland in his ovenready deal. Ask the Tory MPs, every single one, who voted in Parluament for separate rules for Northern Ireland

    10. Denis Cooper
      January 18, 2023

      A letter the Irish Times did not print:

      “Reading your informative article about the Irish horsemeat scandal (today), I fell to wondering how we in the UK could best protect ourselves against such sub-standard products being carried over the land border into Northern Ireland and thence across the Irish Sea into the rest of the UK internal market. It appears that the UK is generously granting EU officials the privilege of scrutinising in forensic detail the movement of all goods from Great Britain into Northern Ireland; but this is not a reciprocal arrangement and so how can we be equally confident that EU goods coming in across the land border will be of satisfactory quality?”

      1. a-tracy
        January 18, 2023

        Good question Denis, do we fine the EU for these breaches of the trade agreement?

      2. Mickey Taking
        January 18, 2023

        quelle surprise.

      3. Sir Joe Soap
        January 18, 2023

        In the same way that we only get 3 months’ leave of stay in the EU, versus they get 6 months here. Cr-p negotiating by T May & Co is to blame for most of these anomalies.

        1. hefner
          January 18, 2023

          1/ The cr@p negotiating was done by May, Robbins, Davis, Raab, Barclay, Barrow till 11/2018, then continued and finalised by Johnson & Frost till 10/2019: Give back to Caesars what belong to Caesars, please.

          2/ Not really SJS, it is a 90/180 days rule, i.e., one can stay up to three months within a six month period. Over a year it adds up to the same thing, only difference is two stays of three months instead of one of six months. Which for a second home owner in the EU can have some advantages. Specially when in France it seems that British people I have met have managed say April-May-June over the first six months of the year, then a couple of days away from their place, then July-August-September over the second six month period. Without any problem up to now.
          As they told me ‘the gendarmes here have better things to do than check on Brits doing their weekly supermarket shopping’.

          1. a-tracy
            January 19, 2023

            2/ so why not have the same reciprocal 6 months that we allow EU citizens? If I were a negotiator I would have insisted on quid pro quo or only given EU citizens in the UK the same terms, of which there are more.

            Our negotiators were rubbish and Ollie got his rewards, it seems May is also getting well renumerated now also.

            Davis is out on the ropes,
            Raab is facing a squad,
            Barclay is being set up in the NHS to take the can for years of missed ministerial action, he is being put in an impossible situation on purpose,
            Never heard of Barrow

      4. glen cullen
        January 18, 2023

        Level playing field ….but some are more level than others

    11. David Paine
      January 18, 2023

      Well said.

    12. Peter
      January 18, 2023

      Nothing will happen. It’s not a priority for Sunak. Like Johnson he will continue to fudge and kick it into the long grass.

      It’s all part of BRINO.

      1. glen cullen
        January 18, 2023

        Brino is just like climate change ….just look out of the window, nothing has changed

    13. mancunius
      January 19, 2023

      Digital tech makes border checks at the real NI / RoI border totally unnecessary. We should stob enabling the EU’s abusive pedantry. Their collection of intra-UK trade data is commercial espionage: an act of war.

  2. DOM
    January 18, 2023

    Does Sunak actually care for this now husk of a nation or does he simply see this issue through a party political prism?

    I know one thing. We will see a United Ireland in the next decade. The EU and the Anglophobes in Washington will make sure of it

    1. Sharon
      January 18, 2023

      I hope you’re wrong, Dom, but it’s a possibility. Salami slicing – that’s the secret to forcing through what the people don’t want. The EU are professional and we’re learning.

    2. Ian wragg
      January 18, 2023

      That is the most likely outcome and facilitated cby the Conservative and UNIONIST party.

    3. Peter Wood
      January 18, 2023

      Our problems are just now rising to the surface. The incompetent national management since Mrs T is becoming clear. The most pressing is financial ; TWO national deficits while we have taxation at a level Blair and co. could only dream of. Couple that with a parliament and civil service that prefers external law making, we have no solutions in sight .

    4. Mickey Taking
      January 18, 2023

      To correct your point, I think it is possible that NI will leave UK and join the Republic, but it will never be ‘united’.
      Lets call it merged?

    5. Killcullen
      January 18, 2023

      There will be a united Ireland one day, but not in the next decade as you say, maybe within 50 years. The reason being, a lot of Catholics in NI would rather stay in the UK, than have a bunch of Z list clowns in Brussels, who order the bunch of Z list clowns in the ROI government what to do. At least by staying part of the UK, they have a vote to get rid of the Z list clowns in No 10 and 11 and the other far left extremists in the Conservative government. They can’t vote to get rid of the corrupt clowns in Brussels.

      1. beresford
        January 18, 2023

        The government of ROI are even more obsessed with replacing their own people with Third World migrants than are British politicians. In 50 years or so these political entities ‘Dublin’ and ‘Ulster’ will not exist and ‘Catholics’ and ‘Protestants’ will be disenfranchised minorities. The former territories will indeed be united along with the rest of Western Europe in a series of characterless districts serving the WEF technocracy.

    6. MFD
      January 18, 2023

      Then as an Ulsterman, I can assure you Blood with flow as we will never be pushed out of our heritage without a fight.
      The mealy mouthed Eu and Irish Republic can never be trusted, they tell lies ALWAYS!

      1. Carmel
        January 18, 2023

        MFD, the EU and the Irish Republic did not agree and sign up to a deal which separates Northern Ireland from GB, Boris and the UK government did that. Oven ready!

      2. Peter
        January 18, 2023

        MFD,

        For all your ‘fighting’ talk about being ‘pushed out’, demographics tell a different story.

        Catholic/Nationalists, quite rightly, now call the shots West of the river Bann. Belfast will soon go and Unionism will then only prevail in parts of Antrim.

        The good news for you is that much of the new majority will also take account of economic prospects and may choose to remain if they are better in the North.

    7. David Paine
      January 18, 2023

      I fear you could be right. Maybe the Government want this to happen – or am I being paranoid?

    8. Mark B
      January 18, 2023

      DOM

      If Ulster does indeed unite with rest of Ireland there are two things that will happen.

      1) The UK will no longer be bankrolling the province to the tune of billions, RoI and the EU will.

      2) The Withdrawal Agreement will be null and void. ie The UK will be free of the EU completely.

    9. agricola
      January 18, 2023

      Ref a united Ireland to which I have no objection providing a high percentage, say 85%, of the NI population vote for it. If the EU or the Biden are precipitate in bringing it about without a high level of consent then I forsee a resurgence of the Troubles and a further migrant problem for the UK.

    10. glen cullen
      January 18, 2023

      Wasn’t Sunak off to the USA only a couple of years ago …bet if he didn’t win this last PM election he’d be living there now

    11. Lynn Atkinson
      January 18, 2023

      We may see a United Kingdom – including the Free State! That is the ONLY way that Ireland will be United.

  3. Mick
    January 18, 2023

    The UK has been very generous is seeking to meet the legitimate concern of the EU, namely the protection of their single market.
    One simple solution which will probably cheese people off is to cut Northern Ireland/Wales/Scotland free from a United Kingdom and have our own Parliament for England

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      January 18, 2023

      With a brand new constitution written by the Remainers! Brilliant! What use are the rights enshrined in our British Constitution that took a thousand years of fighting to achieve? Let’s also give up the British Government so there is no entity to legally operate our independent nation.

    2. IanT
      January 18, 2023

      You don’t have to think very long to see the chaos that would cause – the Scottish Trans issue would just the tip of the iceburg…

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        January 18, 2023

        The Scottish trans gender law has upset very many women in Scotland and in the UK. It has not been voted on by the people and is yet another crazy idea from the rabble SNP. I was talking with my Scottish friend today and she is happy for Sunak to intervene.

    3. Ian B
      January 18, 2023

      @Mick That wouln’t work all the time you have a Parliment wishing to be ‘told’ what to do by an authoritarian un-elected un-accountable EU Commission, before it accepts that their powers are lent to them by democratic elections of thier constituants they refuse to represent,

    4. Denis Cooper
      January 18, 2023

      A simpler solution is to extend the UK’s current system of export controls so that it would apply to all goods carried across the land border into the Irish Republic, which from a legal standpoint would only require both Houses of Parliament to vote through an Order laid under Section 12 of the Export Control Act 2002. Which is what Theresa May could have done in the autumn of 2017, when Irish politicians started on their nonsense.

    5. ChrisS
      January 18, 2023

      On the contrary, if the voters and taxpayers of England knew the real cost to them of the Union, they would probably vote for England to go it alone. We are subsidising the rest of the UK to the tune of more than £40bn pa.
      The Deficits in 2018/19 were just 0.3% of GDP in England, but in Scotland it was 7%, Wales 18% and NI 19%

      England on its own would still be a very large player in the wider European context.
      We have a larger and growing population than all other countries in Europe, except Germany, France, and Italy, and of the larger countries in Europe, England’s GDP per capita ($55,862) is only exceeded by Germany ($57,881).

      The GDP, figure for the UK is $49,765. For England alone it is $55,862
      These are World Bank figures for 2021.

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 18, 2023

        Who will stand and voice that in the H of C?

        1. glen cullen
          January 18, 2023

          The HoCs is full of MEPs

    6. David Paine
      January 18, 2023

      In a hostile world this would leave England’s back door unprotected with plenty of harbours for the new EU army or Putin or whoever to land and make their way south and east to London. Back in WW2 Rudolph Hess flew himself to Scotland, no doubt hoping to get support from anti-English Scots to weaken us so let’s not forget that.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        January 18, 2023

        David. You are right but Sturgeon doesn’t care. Her ego won’t allow that.

    7. X-Tory
      January 18, 2023

      1. The “protection of their single market” is NOT a “legitimate concern”, as there is no danger that it needs to be ‘protected’ from.
      2. This is, in any case NOT a concern of the UK’s, so it is CRETINOUS for us to help them on this.
      3. This “protection” of the single market actually works AGAINST the UK’s interests, so for us to help them on this is not only cretinous but also TREASONOUS.
      4. Anybody who wants to destroy their own country – and there is only ONE country, the United Kingdom – is, by definition, a traitor. We must all be UNIONISTS and defend the entirety and integrity of the UK.

      1. Mark B
        January 18, 2023

        Agreed. Your neighbours fence is their responsibility, not yours. It is upt to them to maintain it and at their cost.

    8. agricola
      January 18, 2023

      Mick.
      I really cannot see how this would work. It would leave NI even further at the mercy of the EU.

  4. Nottingham Lad Himself
    January 18, 2023

    So many words, so many arguments, so many problems and difficulties, all caused by brexit.

    Well done.

    1. Paul
      January 18, 2023

      So true NLH and not forgetting that NI voted to remain.

    2. Dave Andrews
      January 18, 2023

      Sorry, I won’t let politicians off the hook for inept government. Blaming it on Brexit is just mis-direction.

    3. Mickey Taking
      January 18, 2023

      I know, and it is cold and miserable right now, if only I had voted to Remain!

    4. Fedupsoutherner
      January 18, 2023

      No NLH. Devolution was a problem before the Brexit referendum.

    5. Lynn Atkinson
      January 18, 2023

      But no argument about Brexit, even Starmer agrees now, so does JPMorgan, Nissan etc etc.
      You are an outlier and only because you are obdurate and will not consider the actual facts.

  5. Ashley
    January 18, 2023

    Indeed “Nothing can work in NI without the consent of both communities. The Protocol does not have Unionist consent. It is not just a matter of trade issues. The Unionist Community does not wish to be subjected to EU law with no rights to reject or amend it. The EU and UK should not seek to force a solution on NI that one community rejects.”

    Alas that is what the Boris Government did and what this government and the EU and continuing to do.

  6. Bill Smith
    January 18, 2023

    Sir John,

    Interesting article with a degree of important information.

    I just have my doubts about the following statements in your contribution
    1( This was not a temporary solution this was the permanent solution proposed by Johnson_
    2( I am not sure that the EU negotiation mandate excludes a solution which will satisfy the Protestant community_
    3 Before you talked about invoking Artile 16 without future negotiations, what has changed?
    4. Is it true there is more growth in NI than i the rest of the UK for the moment?
    I can not help thinking that you are part of the spreading of the misinformation?

  7. Sea_Warrior
    January 18, 2023

    ‘The UK could secure this for them by the method of UK legislating to say it would be an offence for anyone in NI to seek to export into the EU products that do not meet EU laws and regulations.’ Eminently sensible – now watch the EU reject the notion.

    1. Mark B
      January 18, 2023

      The EU want our FULL COMPLIANCE and SUBJUGATION to THEIR LAWS and THEIR COURTS.

      That is part of the plan.

      1. glen cullen
        January 18, 2023

        Its no longer called a ‘plan’ when its mission is accomplished

      2. Bill Brown
        January 19, 2023

        Nonsense

    2. Bill brown
      January 18, 2023

      Sea Warrior

      This is unfortunately not as simple as you think

  8. turboterrier
    January 18, 2023

    Once again too much talking and little or no response or will from the other side to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
    All the time the situation is as it is the EU have a measure of control over the UK and the remainers have their chance to keep creating mayhem whether they be politicians or civil, public servants.
    Push has to go to shove.
    No more talk Article 16, enough is enough

    1. Bill Brown
      January 19, 2023

      Nonsense

  9. Donna
    January 18, 2023

    The EU and the treacherous British Establishment is using Northern Ireland as a hostage and is keeping the UK aligned to EU Regulations so that, if we cannot be forced to formally rejoin, we will be kept as a satellite nation.

    Sir John, a majority in your Party never wanted to leave the EU and many have done their utmost firstly to try and prevent it and secondly to sabotage it when prevention became impossible thanks to the Brexit Party.

    Sherelle Jacobs had it right in the DT yesterday: all the EU is doing is running down the clock pretending to negotiate with Sunak and awaiting a compliant Starmer-led Government which will betray NI and the rest of the UK. And the House of Frauds is doing likewise.

    Your Party hasn’t got the guts to govern an Independent UK.

    1. Shirley M
      January 18, 2023

      Agree 100% Donna. We always knew Labour and LibDems would betray us, and unfortunately the CONS have thrown our trust (and democracy) in the bin and joined the other non-democrats.

    2. Mark B
      January 18, 2023

      Hear hear.

    3. glen cullen
      January 18, 2023

      Agree hear hear

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    January 18, 2023

    The UK has been very generous is seeking to meet the legitimate concern of the EU, namely the protection of their single market. The UK could secure this for them by the method of UK legislating to say it would be an offence for anyone in NI to seek to export into the EU products that do not meet EU laws and regulations.

    Politicians on both sides could learn much from the art of the simple. Unless of course they don’t want to agree

  11. Jazz
    January 18, 2023

    This is just being used to mess us around. It will continue whilst the majority of MPs want us to stay closely aligned with the EU, and welcome EU interference.

  12. Bloke
    January 18, 2023

    Long ago, people living on the same island agreed not to fight each other. Ordinary civilised folk behave as good citizens, with no inclination for combat, and don’t need to make an Agreement just to behave normally. That being so, they should continue through life in peace, trading with their neighbours according to what their consumers and sellers each prefer. The EU interferes, adding nuisance, creating conflict surplus to sensible folks’ normal living requirements.

  13. Wanderer
    January 18, 2023

    The EU’s shenanigans and the UK’s capitulations are likely to lead to violence re-errupting. How long will the Unionists put up with this? They live in the UK, not in a foreign country.

    Let’s experiment putting border controls on Westminster until it starts acting like our government, rather than a foreign or globalist one.

  14. Nigl
    January 18, 2023

    An oft repeated explanation, I am guessing you have another audience as the Biden deadline approaches.

    The fact is a weak deliberately looking both ways HMG in the image of its leader, is trying to fool us, no change there then, into believing it is serious about resolving this issue, every time the political temperature goes up another meeting is announced, held, progress spun, the reality is, little has changed. Zero pushback against the Remain elite or even many in the NI Office.

    Actually we are being played like a violin by the EU who have no intention of agreeing anything, content to wait until our political climate/leadership changes and only fools, those in denial cannot see this happening in real time.

    One of the legacies of your awful government and therefore the ineffective ERG is that rejoining the EU, in some shape or form, has become inevitable.

    As in so many other policy areas, the end of the Tory party as it has been for the last 200 years has probably already happened.

  15. Carmel
    January 18, 2023

    It is false to claim the Protocol is designed to be temporary. Mrs May’s version was temporary, but the whole point of Boris’s oven ready deal is that it is not temporary. The Protocol requires checks between GB and NI, you voted for it, so please stop telling us how dreadful it is and accept your responsibility

  16. turboterrier
    January 18, 2023

    If and not such a big if.
    Concerns over a global financial crash being reported on line and in the media will throw the proverbial spanner in the works and that might really affect the EU really badly. One can live in hopes.
    The Telegraph thinks the country will be back in the EU within 10 years. Has anyone thought about the price that will be extracted on us to take us back?
    If the EU buckles under its debt burden then the UK may have a new club to join of ex members.
    With all this going on if another big if we can hold our nerve then the NI problem might well be resolved without us having to keep giving in to a vindictive EU.

  17. Dave Andrews
    January 18, 2023

    Neither the Conservative nor the Labour parties care what happens in NI, after all they have their own political parties.
    Time for the people of NI to stop paying central government taxes. After all, if the Act of Union can be set aside, what basis is there for them to pay them?

  18. Mickey Taking
    January 18, 2023

    off topic, but long overdue.
    Ministers are facing a clash with opposition and Conservative MPs over their plans to scrap EU-era laws copied over to UK law after Brexit. Under government proposals, thousands of laws are due to expire automatically after December unless specifically kept or replaced. It has prompted concerns that important legislation could lapse by accident.
    Labour wants to push the end-of-year deadline back to 2026, arguing it will ensure employment rights are retained.
    And several Tory backbenchers, including former Brexit secretary David Davis, are backing an attempt to give MPs a greater say over what is scrapped. The suggested changes will be discussed later when the Retained EU Law Bill, introduced under Liz Truss, returns to the House of Commons. So far, the government has identified more than 2,400 EU laws that were copied over to UK law to minimise disruption to businesses when the UK officially left the EU in 2020.
    This official estimate is expected to increase significantly, with a further 1,400 previously unidentified laws recently unearthed by the National Archives. The total has prompted concerns at the workload required within the civil service to review all the legislation.
    The bill would also give ministers wide-ranging powers to change or get rid of EU laws, prompting criticism that important changes in a wide range of areas could be made without proper scrutiny.
    Labour has put down several amendments to exclude various EU laws from the December 2023 deadline, including rules on airline compensation, toy safety, transporting animals, and equal treatment for part-time employees.
    Meanwhile, several Conservatives, including Mr Davis and former cabinet minister Sir Robert Buckland, are backing a move to give MPs more control over which EU laws are ditched.

    1. Mickey Taking
      January 18, 2023

      Very important to a majority that voted in 2016?

    2. Mickey Taking
      January 18, 2023

      too long?

      1. hefner
        January 19, 2023

        Not at all off topic, very relevant. Thanks.

  19. Berkshire Alan
    January 18, 2023

    We find ourselves in this mess simply because too many Mp’s at the time refused to allow us to walk away from the EU in a proper manner, and to then deal/trade with the EU as every other Country outside the EU does, and trades under WTO rules.ow getting the pain from that decision.
    It would appear at the moment that many people in both Northern or Southern Ireland, still do not want a fully United Ireland (just think about all those politicians who would be out of a job with no power), but I think eventually that may well happen through the ballot box.
    For the time being Northern Ireland is in the UK and so it should have the same rules as the mainland UK.
    If you cannot get an agreement, then hold a referendum in Ireland about it’s joining with the south, but be aware there will then be no Good Friday agreement in place if the result is for a united Ireland, because then the UK would not have any part of it, and all EU rules taxes and the like will be under EU control, as is the case in Southern Ireland.
    Should the above happen, then the EU should be aware that the so called troubles may flare up again, as one side may feel they have been forced into submission (against their will), but then it will be their problem to resolve.

    All this because not enough members in the UK Parliament at the time, had the courage, backbone and patriotism, to stand up for their own Country’s interests, against a foreign political aggressor.
    Thus you get what your actions deserve.
    This was self inflicted harm by our own Members of Parliament, and we/they are now reaping the results of that action.

  20. Javelin
    January 18, 2023

    There is a time to follow principles are this is it. Democracy, law, Government and economics of the nation state must take precedence. NI must be taken out of the EU.

    As far as I am concerned this is purely about the EU trying to pull the UK apart by keeping NI and Eire in the EU simply because of its geographic location.

    When NI leaves the EU will be forced to relent its spiteful laws because Eire will lose many advantages of being in the EU.

    1. a-tracy
      January 18, 2023

      No, they’ll want to wait until we’ve built rail connections and done everything our government has agreed to do in Northern Ireland behind the scenes.

      Our rulers and protectors are weak, weak, weak. Fed up of them. They want back in aligned, in their customs union, in their single market and Starmer will be put in place to deliver that so The Tories think they can get away with their betrayal.

  21. Sakara Gold
    January 18, 2023

    The moral of this sorry saga is that if you are up against experienced and clever EU negotiators, you need very sharp people indeed to negotiate with them. Unfortunately, we had Govey and his Lordship.

    Johnson was desperate to “get Brexit done” . The EU negotiators adroitly exploited this imperative – and the result was an “Agreement” that will cause trouble for us in Ulster/Eire/EU for years to come. And with Biden – who believes he is Irish

  22. agricola
    January 18, 2023

    Within the NIP there is malicious/controlling intent or not. If not, then legitimate goods in transit to the EU via NI can be electronically documented and forewarned before leaving the UK. If they become a means of shipping illigitimate goods then prosecution can ensue in both jurisdictions. There is no argument for EU involvement in NI / UK or UK/ NI trade and should be resisted.

    If the EU’s intent is malicious then Art 16 is an unarguable solution. In such a scenario the EU and Biden can do whatever they wish with the Irish / NI border.

    Tell me why it needs to be more complex.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 18, 2023

      Because something like half of the goods exported across the open land border into the Irish Republic have been produced in Northern Ireland, they have not come in from Great Britain or anywhere else outside the province and so they will not have passed through the entry points where the EU import checks are located. That is why the EU argues that it is necessary for all of the goods produced in the province to be produced according to EU Single Market rules under the supervision of the EU Commission and then above them the EU court. And that is why the correct solution to the practical problem of protecting the EU Single Market is to replace the EU import controls with UK export controls which could filter out unsuitable goods whether they were imported or locally produced.

      My comment which includes the paragraph:

      “I am aware that some people think it is not our job to protect the EU’s Single Market, they should do that for themselves, but if we are going to undertake that task in a spirit of neighbourly goodwill then surely we should do it through means which will be both efficient and effective, rather than both inefficient and ineffective, which is all that Lord Benyon will achieve with his border posts.”

      has not yet been published.

  23. Elli ron
    January 18, 2023

    The protocol is the EU’s preferred weapon in seeking to overturn Brexit, the EU is being helped by internal Remoaners.
    The EU is never going to give up it’s best disruption weapon, willingly.
    We therefore have need to play this game smartly by legislating explicit overriding provisions in the protocol, without canceling it directly.
    Let the EU sue us.

  24. Julian Flood
    January 18, 2023

    Sir John, good morning.

    Goods imported into the EU can pay VAT either at the point of entry or at the destination. This means that a system is needed to securely track goods in transit to avoid VAT fraud. Before we left the EU this was run from the UK . This was fairly rigorous and included X-raying whole containers. Reinstating the system to track NI goods should be possible if there were good will on both sides.

    If.

    JF

    1. a-tracy
      January 18, 2023

      Yes, Julian that should be all that is required and it should be both ways on imports from the EU too.

  25. Ian B
    January 18, 2023

    The WA was always one sided, we (the EU) can trade with you(the UK) and wont ourselves fully reciprocate. We (the EU) must keep the UK as a Colony and be the overlord of all its Laws and Rules. The failure of the UK Government guided by their remain Civil Service who acquiesced and wished to maintain the above, was to not recognise the fight to deny the UK a Sovereign Democracy. The UK Government was to be refused the right to manage the UK by the EU and the UK Civil Service, to that end ever since the UK Governments have ensured they do not Manage the UK. Their lays the product of ALL UK ills the refusal of Government to manage.

    The Good Friday Agreement as it is called, was not negotiated by the EU for the EU, they played no part and subsequent further integration of the RoI as an EU State appears in their mind to nullify all other agreements

  26. Lifelogic
    January 18, 2023

    Excess all cause deaths in the UK still running at very high levels circa 12-20% up on the five year average on ONS weekly figures over 200 people each day many heart and circulatory problems and in all ages.

    Logically these should might be expected to be lower as Covid brought forward so many deaths and increased the five year average. Most not Covid related so one assumes mainly net harm vaccine related and/or NHS negligence/delays in treatments or ambulances. So Mr Barclay what have you done to determine the causes and try to deal with this appalling situation.

    When too is the excellent Andrew Bridgen going to have the whip restored and received the many apologies he deserves from Sunak, the chief whips, Handcock?

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      January 18, 2023

      Great debate on vaccines tonight with Farage and a virologist. Rather worrying data being revealed by pathologists.

  27. rose
    January 18, 2023

    Thank you, Sir John, for clarifying all this. Well worth doing.

    Another piece of misinformation which is regularly put out is that it is only the DUP who are opposed to the NIP and therefore no-one should take any notice of them. In fact, all the Unionist parties in the Assembly, including the independent Unionists, are strongly opposed to the NIP, but only the DUP, as the largest Unionist party, can make the stand, which is how the media are able to get away with deceiving people.

  28. Ian B
    January 18, 2023

    Sir John

    To sum up, if the UK Government, its Parliament and the so-called Establishment had accepted the simple answer to the simple question of the 2016 referendum ballot paper, that the UK should become a sovereign self governing democracy. Your Diary comment would not have been needed.
    Actual Question posed.
    1) Remain a member of the European Union
    2) Leave the European Union

    Obviously the remain Cohort didn’t like the result and have and are still fighting the out come. The last thing the Establishment or the EU Commission needed was a Democracy any Democracy after years of denying the very idea anywhere it controlled. That has led to numerous self imposed traps, conditions, twists and turns that have no place in reality.

    Simples really

  29. David Paine
    January 18, 2023

    This is what you get when negotiations are left to people who never wanted the UK to leave the EU in the first place. Was that down to Olly Robbins and Theresa May together with the Zombie Parliament of 2019?
    Then Boris Johnson left Northern Ireland blowing in the wind while he strutted his stuff in Ukraine and played eco-bunny over net zero.
    I am not impressed and suspect Reform UK will do terminal damage to the Conservative Party’s electoral future while letting Labour in to power to complete the reversal of Brexit over time – something our managerialist Government seems happy to facilitate.

  30. RDM
    January 18, 2023

    Morning John Redwood,
    Is it not time we negotiate properly?

    To me; it seems we need to get back to a stronger starting point, being hard on the EU from a far wider position? This would include Trade, and easy of Terms of Trade, between the UK and EU, meaning, we got our selves isolated when we negotiated the whole Trade agreement, and accepted a separate protocol?

    I’m not saying it can’t work, where we are, just that we are now limited, unless we draw some red-lines, and they accept a different objective! There is no question of NI not being the UK internal market! Just that between SI/EU and NI/UK internal market, we require a mechanism that allows Trade and Border Control, that works for both?

    I ask this because we now have Customs points for UK Trade going into the EU (In Belgium Airport)? So, would this not imply that UK wants to have Customs points coming into the UK, but also, vice versa? So, the question becomes; Does the EU accept the reciprocal arrangement (There could be, in time, an arrangement closer to Free Trade [Alignment to the Customs Union, where we come from], or Intelligence lead Trade [targeted Software systems, if they accept reciprocal agreements, but no alignment])? We will need Supply-side reforms (ASAP), before GE, or it will come down to the Labour Party?

    The question now becomes whether we could agree a software Customs (limited border controls) points, for SI and NI, acceptable by the Unionist Community?And, not EU and UK, before the next GE!

    In other words; they see this (Including Biden) as an opportunity to force NI away from the UK, and into alignment with SI and the EU (Which is why they do mind waiting until Labour get into Power. Is it possible to reinforce the Unionists hand, before the next GE?).

    So, given where we are now, and given the leaks (Testing the waters?), they are considering allowing the EU access to only SI to/from NI trade data (Is this correct)? And, not EU and UK Trade Data? The point now would be to get them to accept a narrower agreement, being between, and overseen and maintained by, SI and NI (Stormont). But also, at this point, if they show willing, we could move directly to an Intelligence Lead system? Removing EU Customs checks to the whole of the UK into the Europe? If not; they want access to UK wide Trade Data, they will wait for the Labour Party!

    But, to some up; What is going on now is they are delaying or the Government has already give up, and accepted either isolating NI, forcing back into the EU, or the whole of the UK, will have to accept continued Customs Union alignment !

    Do I have this right ?

    Regards,

    RDM.

  31. RDM
    January 18, 2023

    Sorry, I meant Soft, and not Software.

  32. Denis Cooper
    January 18, 2023

    Here is an interesting new article on the RTE website:

    https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2023/0117/1349273-ni-protocol-negotiations/

    “Johnson agreed checks on goods between Britain and NI, new book claims”

    Here and elsewhere I repeatedly argued that the first part of the solution should be legal not technological.

    For example, out of my files from nearly four years ago:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2019/03/20/apparently-a-request-for-a-long-delay-has-been-cancelled/#comment-1005157

    “This chap:

    https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2019/03/anthony-speaight-six-reasons-why-we-are-now-less-likely-to-be-trapped-in-the-backstop.html

    continues to emphasise technological solutions to ensure that the Irish border is kept open, when the paramount requirement is for a legal solution.

    Why do I say that?

    Because it was changes in UK domestic law to implement the Single European Act which made it possible, in fact mandatory, for the UK to remove border checks on goods coming in from the Republic, and similarly changes in Irish domestic law for the movement of goods in the opposite direction.

    So when we leave the EU and existing UK laws to implement the EU Single Market are repealed they should be partially replaced by a new UK law to guarantee to the Irish and EU authorities that there is no new need to intercept and check goods as they cross the border from the north.

    Technology could no doubt play an ancillary role, for example in the mechanics of levying customs duties away from the border, but not technology at the border for avoiding the need for physical checks on goods as they cross in either direction – which the Irish government absolutely ruled out in the autumn of 2017.”

  33. Bert Young
    January 18, 2023

    We should never have agreed to the terms of the NI deal made with the EU in the first place . We rushed into this without studying the issues . The mess that occurs now is further complicated by the idiotic position that Biden has made effecting the stability of NATO . A solution may exist in persuading Ireland to leave the EU and getting rid of Biden . NI is and should remain an integral part of the UK ; border controls do not need to exist much in the same way as those between the relative conditions of France and Switzerland . The supremacy of the European Court of Justice has to be got rid of together with all those other European laws that still exist . Our international place in the world should not be weakened .

  34. Nigl
    January 18, 2023

    And we now read, HMG is not working towards a particular date. Presumably so they cannot be held to account when it’s missed.

    Can it get more pathetic?

  35. JohnK
    January 18, 2023

    How much does the United Kingdom matter to Mr Sunak? We shall soon see.

    1. glen cullen
      January 18, 2023

      He’ll be back in the USA soon enough

  36. X-Tory
    January 18, 2023

    Sir John, I must take issue with your Tweet about BritishVolt. The fact that the deadline for the forcible adoption of electric cars is premature and artificial – and is being imposed by government against all good sense – is well known. But that is what they have decided to do. So if we want to have a car-manufacturing industry we ALSO need a battery-manufacturing industry, as the former depends entirely on the latter. The EU have understood this, and that is why they are pumping in BILLIONS of euros in subsidies to create such an industry. So is the US. So is China. So batteries and electric cars will be built in those countries, and the UK industry will completely disappear, along with all the jobs and revenues.

    The ONLY way forward now is to IMMEDIATELY invest £2-3 BILLION in state aid to help create a battery-manufacturing industry. This will, at least, preserve our car-manufacturing industry – as well as the whole supply chain that depends on this – and keep the jobs and skills and revenues that go with it. To just abandon BritishVolt to its doom is TREASON. Yet another disgusting betrayal of Britain by this anti-British government and another reason NOT to vote Conservative.

    1. glen cullen
      January 18, 2023

      Completely disagree – you’re talking about 1984 and a command economy or neo marist economy
      How about reversing the ICE ban and let the consumer decide if they wish to buy an EV, it might be old fashioned but I’m talking about traditional conservative capitalism
      Nb. BritishVolt main shareholders includes GlenCore a foreign company

  37. hefner
    January 18, 2023

    What about an additional little something about the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reformation) Bill? As it is written it appears to give much power to Ministers (not to MPs) to do more or less what they like, in practice weakening parliamentary sovereignty. Moreover deleting about 4,000 laws possibly without any properly thought replacement for them is likely to impact a large number of areas, from maternity rights to consumer rights to water quality to … etc …

    So where are the fierce defenders who crusaded under the ‘Take back control’ banner?

    1. a-tracy
      January 18, 2023

      UK Maternity rights are a lot more generous than the EU hefner, as are parental leave, as is holiday leave. I do not believe any government will turn over what we already have got accustomed to. They had the chance to only have the EU 20 days guaranteed holidays and they didn’t.

      1. hefner
        January 18, 2023

        There is no such thing as EU maternity rights, a-tracy, each EU27 country has its own standard. The same applies to the number of statutory minimum vacation days. I know that the Brexiteers are unable to consider the individual 27 countries in the EU and are keen on considering the EU as a block governed by the dreaded Commission but this is far from reflecting the actual situation.

        In the UK, 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave possibly followed by 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave. The Statutory Maternity Pay is up to 39 weeks at £156.99/week (or 90% of the average weekly earnings, whichever is lower).

        In France there is a minimum leave of 16 weeks with a €53/day for a woman with a €2,200 monthly salary before the pregnancy. A leave of up to one year is available with a Sécurité Sociale indemnity of €405.98/month in 2022.

        In Germany, there is a minimum leave of 14 weeks with a minimum of €13/day (Mutterschaftsgeld) plus €250/month for up to three years of parental leave (to be possibly shared between mother and father). An additional Elterngeld (up to 65% of previous salary) depends on the (goodwill of the) employer (and is generally much more difficult to obtain).

        So I am afraid that your assertion that ‘UK maternity rights are a lot more generous than the EU’s’ can at least be debated.
        As for holidays, most French people get six weeks (30 working days) holidays per year to be taken in at least two periods not exceeding four weeks. In Germany it is 24 working days.

        1. a-tracy
          January 19, 2023

          If, as you say, the EU doesn’t have any minimum terms guidance on maternity so, why do leavers bring that into it if there aren’t clear instructions on minimums from the centre?

          The maternity terms in the UK, the first 6 weeks are paid at 90% of the usual average weekly pay averaged, if the average nurse for example was on maternity leave she would get full pay, another female on basic SMP on £35,000 would get 6 weeks at £748 per week. SMP is paid for 39 weeks in total, (SMP for 33 weeks at £156.66 unless your usual weekly pay is lower and then it is 90% of your usual gross for the whole period) holiday pay accrues during maternity leave so 21 days at the usual holiday pay rate (a cost of £2826.92 covered by the employer).

        2. a-tracy
          January 19, 2023

          France and Germany aren’t the only members of the EU! These Countries wanted the UK to match some of their terms to reduce our competitiveness. I believe around 65% of the UK is working with similar generous holiday terms are our public sector + hidden public sector like housing associations, doctors, + ex public sector works like railways, post, BT, BP still have old public sector terms.

          The SME’s not in this clique are the ones just paying up and taking this, if they tried to pay the same terms they wouldn’t stay in business long.

          1. hefner
            January 19, 2023

            a-tracy, You’re obviously right, France and Germany are not the only EU countries. I happen for various reasons to know a bit more about what happens there. That’s all.

            As for your ‘these countries wanted the UK to match some of their terms to reduce our competitiveness’, what makes you say such a thing? Given that maternity leave, retirement age, children benefits, incapacity benefits, unemployment support, … practically all social support programs differ from one country to the other within the EU27, I guess this is a myth: how would France or Germany have been able to influence what happens in the UK when they are not able (and possibly do not even want) to have ‘a level playing field’ within the EU27?

            Then ‘Public service pensions – Facts and figures’, 11/05/2021 commonslibrary.parliament.uk seems to indicate that the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 has revised the benefits and made them available at the same State Pension Age as for everybody else except for police, firefighters and armed forces who have kept the 60 retirement age.

            Finally (and here I’ll be needling you): how comes that private sector employees have not been able to keep the same advantages as people in the ‘public sector’? Maybe they should have kept some trade unions? Maybe they should have been marching like the French.

            Anyway such a ‘public’ vs ‘private’ distinction is essentially ridiculous: would you compare a City trader’s with a teacher’s or a Minister’s with a plumber’s or a bank director’s with a nurse’s retirement package? Or is that a reverse form of the politics of envy?

          2. a-tracy
            January 20, 2023

            John, apologies about the length, I hope you find time to let this through.

            hefner “what makes me say such things” Macron’s Law (did you hear about that one with your time in France?) that he pushed through where people working through France had to match his Country’s employment terms.

            A German program about the Working Time Directive and how it wasn’t right that the UK had an opt-out.
            https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2014_2019/documents/empl/dv/empl20150416_eurofound_wtd_/empl20150416_eurofound_wtd_en.pdf
            Just to be clear are you claiming that the EU didn’t give significant ‘guidance and instruction’ Given that maternity leave, retirement age, children benefits, incapacity benefits, unemployment support, … practically all social support programs differ from one country to the other within the EU27? I’ll give you a couple I remember off the top of my head.

            “Directive 92/85 women have the right to a minimum of 14 weeks of maternity leave. At least 2 of them are compulsory. Maternity leave is compensated at least at the national sick pay level

            Directive 2003/88/EC Every worker is entitled to paid annual leave of at least four weeks. This minimum period of paid annual leave can not be replaced by an allowance except where the employment relationship is terminated.”

            You don’t needle me at all. I find you amusing.

          3. hefner
            January 21, 2023

            a-tracy, what you call Macron’s Law is the present Government’s project (with PM E.Borne defending it, but in fact the project of postponing the retirement age has been discussed for years already before N. Sarkozy’s time as President) considering the overall increase of people’s ‘life in good health’, the financing of the French Sécurité Sociale (easier to balance the books if postponing the retirement age leads to increased taxes), and the overall retirement age picture in developed countries.
            In that respect, France with a 60 year retirement age (from Mitterrand’s promise in 1981 but only implemented in 1983) then 62 (under Sarkozy in 1990) had been somewhat of an outlier. First government’s efforts were to (try to) create a retirement system with less exceptions (in the past some professions could retire at 45 (police, army, firemen). There were also a multiple jobs where ‘penibilite’ could be a reason for early retirement. Some of these jobs, like for drivers of steam engines, had disappeared but drivers of electric trains could benefit from the same old advantages.
            Moreover for years (1970s-1990s) there was a continuously increasing deficit in the Sécurité Sociale budget. That was more or less ‘fixed’ with two new dedicated taxes, CSG Generalised Social Contribution and CRDS Contribution to the Repayment of the Social Debt) introduced in 12/1990 and still active today.
            There were also repeated difficult negotiations with the health professionals during these last twenty-thirty years.

            The thing I contest from your reading of events is that the EU Commission or any other EU authorities played any particular role in these various changes introduced by the successive French governments.
            May I add your examples of ‘EU interventions’ are rather meaningless as they define minimum conditions and are not in any way restricting better conditions.

          4. a-tracy
            January 22, 2023

            Hefner, “As for your ‘these countries wanted the UK to match some of their terms to reduce our competitiveness’, what makes you say such a thing?”
            Macrons’ Law 1st July 2016 – it was about the french minimum wage in transport being applied to cabotage and all international transport that initiated or terminated in France. Equal pay and conditions for all EU workers to French terms, he wanted to expand this to all workers to make other Countries in the EU less competitive to the French.

            In fact he’s just got some success in the EU on this subject: migrant labour reform.
            https://www.ft.com/content/d1b156be-3d95-11e8-b7e0-52972418fec4

            Your statement was: “There is no such thing as EU maternity rights, a-tracy,”
            I demonstrated there is! There are lots of minimum basic terms that all have to comply with.

      2. hefner
        January 19, 2023

        On another topic, I see that the French are going to the barricades (again) because their government wants to move the retirement age from 62 to 64. In the UK since October 2020 people cannot access their State pension before 66 and have the ‘right’ to go on and on till they drop dead …
        Is the UK ‘a lot more generous than the EU’ in that respect, a-tracy? Let me laugh quietly …

        1. a-tracy
          January 19, 2023

          I have been furious about the pension age increases since Blair and Brown started this off on their instructions. Everyone in the public sector is protected from it. They pushed my retirement age up from 60 to 66. I’m not laughing at all.

          The English have been frequently treated appallingly. I’m not one for marching like the French but perhaps….if needs must.

    2. Hope
      January 18, 2023

      That is taking back control to govt./parliament not arbitrarily taken by EU without any say whatsoever. A bit like N.Ireland now. Not sure what you mean.

      1. hefner
        January 18, 2023

        ‘Not sure what you mean’. Would you be happy with ‘control’ being only the prerogative of the government without any say by the MPs?

        1. Hope
          January 19, 2023

          Hef,
          That already happened for years with a host of legislation through statutory instrument, and most EU laws were passed through with a nod and no say from MPs. Same for covid. Therefore your point is not a startling revelation but an existing known fact.

          The debate has always been about whether UK govt should instigate law over its citizens or a foreign body should. N.Ireland the current example, former control over US being another good example which led to Boston tea party and independence.

          1. glen cullen
            January 19, 2023

            +1

    3. Mickey Taking
      January 18, 2023

      My report on it has been held back!

  38. Atlas
    January 18, 2023

    Agreed Sir John.
    I am concerned that Sunak will be angling to give in to the EU because it was EU supporting MPs who put him in his office in the first place…
    If he will not uphold NI’s position as an equal part of the UK then he should not be too surprised to see the SNP in Scotland wanting independence – and getting it.

  39. Pauline Baxter
    January 18, 2023

    We never wanted nor needed, that ‘Trade and Co-operation Agreement’. It has not benefited us in any way and since Johnson was supposed to ‘Get Brexit Done’ he had no mandate for doing it.
    The protocol was not ever needed, irrespective of any trade agreement, since sufficient checks were being made at the Eire/N.I.border without a so called ‘hard border’ anyway.
    The whole thing was a typical E.U. negotiating tactic, to make it as difficult as possible for any nation to leave their jurisdiction.
    For heavens sake just ABOLISH the damn protocol.
    What catastrophe will befall us?

  40. Old Salt
    January 18, 2023

    From facts4eu.org
    Thursday, January 12, 2023, 04:46
    “50 years later, I still think joining the EU was a mistake,” says Irexit spokesman
    “50 years later, I still think joining the EU was a mistake,” says Dublin professor (facts4eu.org)
    It’s easy to forget the Irish twice voted against EU treaties and were told to vote again.

    That was possibly the start of the NIP troubles

    From facts4eu.org
    “How the EU and the Republic of Ireland conspired to break up the United Kingdom” (facts4eu.org)

    So, I ask, was this the real need for the NIP in the first place?

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 18, 2023

      The Irish Republic is still in the EU and subject to the EU treaties and so it still needs a protocol to regularise its exceptional bilateral relationship with the UK, just as when we were both in the EU there were two such protocols attached to the EU treaties – Protocol No 20 about the Common Travel Area, and Protocol No 21 about the area of freedom, security and justice. But the existing NI protocol has obnoxious elements which must be removed.

  41. glen cullen
    January 18, 2023

    Retained EU Law Bill debate in the HoC today is a complete embarrassment for democracy and the people’s decision at referendum ….most of our MPs debating against the bill and are still pro EU
    There shouldn’t be any debate the people have instructed you to leave the EU, and all its institutions and laws ….what part of the leave referendum didn’t the MPs understand

  42. glen cullen
    January 18, 2023

    Pizza anyone
    The data below is for the 24-hour period 00:00 to 23:59 17 January 2023.
    Number of migrants detected in small boats: 106
    Number of boats detected: 2
    106 pizzas

    I understand that Ireland has started making pizzas

  43. herebefore
    January 18, 2023

    Soon we can expect that the problems of the protocol will fade away – Donaldson of the NI DUP will be smiling and then hopefully the rest of us can start to enjoy the sunny uplands we were promised – the way I see it – glass half full.

  44. beresford
    January 18, 2023

    It is reported that Home Office staff are being told not to use terms such as ‘homosexual’ or ‘mate’ and are being made to sit through lectures about woke gender pronouns. Who does the Home Office work for and why are those person(s) driving this nonsense at public expense?

    1. glen cullen
      January 18, 2023

      Have any of these people even walked around an industrial estate ….they live in a different UK to the average joe

  45. Yossarion
    January 19, 2023

    Why should the English care?, within two two weeks of thje the vote in 2016 the Welsh Parliament called a meeting of the British Irish council ( Strand Three Good Friday Agreement.
    This means a body were having a dicussion about BREXIT without any English representation but Sien Fein Ira were there.
    People wonder why English People want out of a Union that is scewed towards the Celts.

  46. mancunius
    January 19, 2023

    Sir John, Some of your colleagues on the Conservative benches seem to believe that NI needn’t be taken seriously, even that its membership of the UK is inessential.
    This is not so.
    Until they grasp that the Belfast Agreement, which is both anterior and constitutionally superior to the NI Protocol, gives the Protestant parties of Northern Ireland an explicitly unilateral right to reject the anti-constitutional measures Westminster so cravenly and cavalierly thrust upon the Province, then I shall be support the DUP in their determination not to allow the Assembly at Stormont to sit. I am neither Protestant, nor Northern Irish – but the absolute justice of their cause has serious consequences for the UK’s whole Union, and it must be defended at all costs, even if the TCA were to collapse as a result.

  47. mancunius
    January 19, 2023

    *supporting*

  48. heavensent
    January 19, 2023

    We are the losers in all of this – from the very first day the great SAS man David Davis sat down at the negotiating table across from Barnier and his well armed team and not a jotter or copybook between them on the UK side

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