My final word on the Northern Ireland Stormont Brake debate

John Redwood:

The Government should not put this measure to a vote now. This will not work. It cannot work as a brake, because Stormont will not meet because of it. It gives amazing powers to the European Union.



  1. Peter
    March 23, 2023

    Agreed, but Sunak was always determined to railroad it through, by hook or by crook.

  2. jerry
    March 23, 2023

    “It gives amazing powers to the European Union.”

    Indeed, it does retain the amazing powers given to the European Union by Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement and NIP, as the EU always said, there can be no renegotiation – all Sunak did was the same as Wilson and Major before, rearrange the deckchairs on the poop deck to face a different direction, yet the ship is still sailing the same course.

  3. Bill Smith
    March 23, 2023

    Dear Sir JR

    We signed the deal and great majority in Parliament is supporting it and a majority of insutry in NI are happy with tthe deal which is a major improvement from the lousy deal taht Johnson signed.
    Is it not time for you to concentrate on the mess 12 years of conservative govenment has delivered to us? and the Brexit taht has cost us a fortune?

  4. Mickey Taking
    March 23, 2023

    Your last comment is why it will be voted and carried.

  5. rose
    March 23, 2023

    Well done, Sir John, we are very proud of you.

    It was noticeable today that Wales got two free ports and Ulster none. Not a single reptile explained why.

  6. Denis Cooper
    March 23, 2023

    I thought that I’d said my final word:

    but to make sure that this is fully understood I think I should add that when the DUP object to EU law applying to all manufacturing in Northern Ireland, not just for the production of goods intended for export to the EU, that is the inevitable result of the EU compliance checks being made on the wrong flow of goods.

    “So now we are stuck with EU compliance checks being applied to the wrong flow of goods, the flow of imports into Northern Ireland from Great Britain … rather than to the correct flow of goods, the flow of exports from Northern Ireland across the land border into the Irish Republic … ”

    The direct consequence being:

    “Fundamentally, for us the problem with the Northern Ireland protocol is the continued application of EU law in Northern Ireland in circumstances in which it covers all manufacturing of goods in Northern Ireland, regardless of whether those goods are being sold in the United Kingdom or to the European Union. I repeat the statistics that I quoted earlier at Northern Ireland questions: of all goods manufactured in Northern Ireland, the vast majority—some £65 billion out of £77 billion of goods manufactured—are sold in the United Kingdom. The solution must be proportionate to the difficulty, and the difficulty is the EU’s desire to protect its single market and to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland. But the price for that cannot be that Northern Ireland businesses manufacturing goods for sale in the United Kingdom are inhibited in many ways from trading within their own market.”

    With the indirect consequence that the DUP is refusing to restore power sharing.

    The government seems totally unsympathetic; it has been repeatedly pointed out the EU compliance checks should be applied just to the goods destined for the EU Single Market, but they have not even expressed any understanding of that or any ambition to get the import checks replaced by export checks. But then it has taken a long time for the DUP to crystallise that thought, too long, and even now they have never explicitly called for export controls as I started to directly urge upon Sir Jeffrey Donaldson last November.

  7. Nottingham Lad Himself
    March 23, 2023

    The European Union has amazing powers simply by dint of the amazing thing that it really is.

    It needs to be given nothing by the Tory UK.

    1. Mickey Taking
      March 23, 2023

      did you keep a straight face as you wrote that? Yes? Amazing!

    2. mancunius
      March 24, 2023

      I hear that the EU says exactly the same thing about Nottingham.

  8. Bloke
    March 23, 2023

    Fully agreed.

  9. Will in Hampshire
    March 23, 2023

    Well, having read your penultimate sentence we’ll have to agree to differ. In my view one of the attractive features of the revisions to the Northern Ireland Protocol is that the “brake” mechanism has to be triggered by the Assembly and hence any party that walks away from the Assembly denies itself access to the brake. This seems to me to be a useful lever in driving the Stormont parties to take governance seriously, rather than treating it as platform for grandstanding to their voters in the knowledge that a government department in Whitehall can be relied upon to keep the administrative functions going.

    1. Peter Gardner
      March 23, 2023

      That would be true if the brake were actually useful. As Sir Martin Howe has said after his exhaustive analysis it is useless in practice.

    2. Richard1
      March 23, 2023

      Good point

  10. Peter from Leeds
    March 23, 2023

    “Why do you stay in prison when the door is wide open?”

    So many in government and civil service are afraid of freedom. I note May voted for it, but Johnson and Truss both voted against.

    Leaving a protection racket is never easy.

    1. Richard1
      March 23, 2023

      Boris it was who put the NI protocol through, describing it as an oven ready deal. Ok there was the May backstop and the surrender act which meant he had to accept a bad deal for NI in the hopes of sorting it out later. But that isn’t how he sold it at the time. Truss voted not only for the NI Protocol but for May’s disastrous backstop which is the root cause of the problem. People can change their mind of course but I don’t think we can be expected to pay too much attention to Boris and Liz on this issue.

  11. Will in Hampshire
    March 23, 2023

    Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph this evening is absolutely right. From the wreckage strewn by the chaos of government by Mr Johnson, Ms Truss and the ERG a competent Conservative government is emerging, one that seems to have instincts for accurate analysis, clever tactics and pragmatism in delivery. A government of experts, perhaps? Or would that be too disrespectful of Mr Gove?

  12. Peter Gardner
    March 23, 2023

    This truly is a Remainer coup. We worry about Wokeness in education and other institutions of the state but the EU’s inner column in Parliament has triumphed.
    If I am wrong about that, there are only two other possible explanations:
    A) Parliament, including the Sunak Government, has lost the will to govern the United Kingdom and is quite relaxed about handing its power back to the EU. The UK is no longer capable of self-government.
    B) a majority of MPs want the comfort of being able to excuse their failures by the need to maintain alignment with the EU, as it used to be in the goold old days of regular meetings with their chums on the continent.

  13. mancunius
    March 24, 2023

    Far from intending to restore the Assembly in NI, it is plainly obvious that the aim of this deceitful measure (forced through with the notorious ignorance of Westminster about Irish politics) was to kill off any chance of the Belfast Assembly sitting. Trying to alter the GFA Treaty to exclude the DUP just for the convenience of London politicians would break the law and provoke civil war.
    Also, now that Unionists have seen the judiciary pronounce 1) that the Act of Union has been repealed by the Westminster Parliament and 2) that the GFA’s mandatory political consultation process ‘in the case of any constitutional change’ is completely without substance, and *only* for the final step of ceding control to Dublin, the Unionists have nothing to lose: the GFA is a busted flush. I doubt the Assembly will ever meet again.

  14. BW
    March 24, 2023

    This was so predictable. Following two parliamentary coup d’états ousting legitimate leaders our unelected usurper strikes a deal with EU. How long do you think it will be before the EU are shoving this double crossing deal in our faces, via the unwanted unelected ECJ of course.
    It was quite clear the people voted to leave the EU not for any agreement. The politicians, especially Remainers with the Benn Act have botched it up every step of the way. We had a chance with WTO rules, we had a chance with Article 16. And we had a chance with the NI Protocol Bill. But all discarded by the usurper who has sold the British people back into the clutches of the EU.

    1. Peter Gardner
      March 24, 2023

      Everything that has gone wrong with implementing Brexit has been caused by Remainers of all parties. Everything. Starting with Mrs May and her unelected advisers. Mrs May’s efforts were an attempt to deceive the public. The culmination was the Benn Act which removed all negotiating leaverage. It was remarkable that Boris managed any advantageous changes at all but that was mainly because the EU could see, thanks to the advice of their insiders in Westminster, the deal would not get through Parliament at all if they refused to concede anything.
      The fundamental problem was the inabililty of MPs to understand that the EU seriously believed that a more successful UK outside than inside the EU really would be an existential threat to ever closer union. They still have little faith in the UK. the reason UK is weak and in a mess is entirely down to the Westminster swamp and the Remainer biassed civil service.
      The EU is not out to punish the UK. They are out to eliminate what they see as a threat to the completion of their porject: The Federal State of Europe. that means the EU will act by whatever means and on any front to ensure the threat of UK success is eliminated. That includes taking NI out of UK. Nobody has ever built an empire by being nice to those are threats. Why should the EU be any different?

      1. Peter Parsons
        March 24, 2023

        To paraphrase: “The problem with Brexit is that it hasn’t been done properly.”

        A lot of people say the same thing about socialism whereas the reality is that they’re just both bad ideas.

  15. Donna
    March 24, 2023

    It is the Establishment’s chosen method of keeping the whole of the UK permanently aligned to the EU, with NI held as hostage to ensure “we behave” until a two-tier EU has been created and we are taken into the outer tier as an Associate Nation.

    The so-called Conservative and Unionist Party has gifted Northern Ireland to the EU, with no mandate and no consent from the Northern Irish.

    Sunak disgusts me as much as Treason May did.

    1. Diane
      March 24, 2023

      But it’s the best we could get Donna. The best we could get ! (sarc) Perhaps we are all too purist for present times. Yesterday it was noticeable there seemed to be a repeat of what happened with the PM’s presentation of the WF to the public versus what the EU Commission President stated in hers. As the political commentator at the time said, (GBN) it seemed that the DUP Leader had been in a different meeting from anyone else. The DUP Leader came out of the Hillsborough meeting saying that the WF had been discussed, the political situation & budget also, but that more work was needed and what was there was presently insufficient & requiring some clarifications. Then the NI Sec of State appeared stating, I might say, dourly, the deal is done. There is no renegotiating of that deal. That deal is going to be accepted at the Joint Committee meeting tomorrow ( today that is ) and that it will become International Law shortly afterwards. How many of those hundreds did get around to studying it, or looking at the analysis elsewhere or even reading it ? Labour just didn’t care what was in it of course, obviously. Quietly and stealthily cobbled. Rhymes with nobbled…The actual name of it still quietly grates with many.

  16. Norman
    March 24, 2023

    Ultimately the fact that Stormont won’t meet based on the Windsor Framework goes back beyond this document and to Brexit itself. My own view (like the majority of Wokingham in 2016) was to remain, as Brexit felt like a gamble on something undefined – like quitting your job with nowhere else to go except “I’m now free to apply for any job I want” as a benefit. The prominent Leavers charmed many voters and partners in NI with a vision (not a plan) – I feel both sides had reasonable rationale and nothing is ever one sided, but it seems Brexit in its purest possible form (complete ‘sovereignty’) cannot be workable on the NI/Irish border, which must be kept open. To be kept open, some amount of co-operation and alignment is required to make Brexit workable in the most pragmatic way.
    It seems Mr Redwood’s default position is to naysay any amount of cooperation with the EU – nothing short of the purest Brexit in Northern Ireland will suit him. Ultimately if the Government supported his view, Brexit would have two outcomes in NI: 1) It will never be resolved, or 2) some form of border is required in Ireland. No real workable alternative has been offered by the ERG or prominent Leavers, so the recent amendment is the best available option at this moment and an upgrade on fabled ‘oven ready’ deal Sir John voted for in 2019.

    Reply Not so. I and my colleagues offered mutual enforcement not at the border as the obvious solution.

    1. Norman
      March 27, 2023

      Yes so – you’re looking to the EU to facilitate an unworkable arrangement, when readily workable options were possible, but you voted against them.

      Reply I support a unilateral solution called the NI Protocol Bill.

  17. BW
    March 24, 2023

    I have just heard that the usurper has just lectured the Israeli on the importance of democracy. I cannot tell you of a field big enough for me to go to so I can scream in frustration of this hypocrisy. Democracy is important unless you disagree with a particular part and have a large knife to stick in someone’s back.

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    March 27, 2023

    What you want cannot be achieved unless Northern Ireland leaves the EU Single Market. Why not say so and state that each and every interference in UK trade between the mainland and NI will be given maximum press coverage and denunciation in parliament? The rachet mechanism by which Northern Ireland will slowly be transferred to the Republic is not going to go away unless you make it go away.

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