Answer to my written Parliamentary question on Windsor Framework

This is a  better attempt to answer the outstanding questions over what reductions in EU law have been made for NI under the new Agreement. It appears that most of the items items mentioned are only disapplied for green lane imports, whereas the issue is the application of laws to anything made and sold in Northern Ireland. There seems to have been little progress in reducing the EU legal burden on NI.


The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (180627):

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to The Windsor Framework: a new way forward, published in February 2023, if he will publish specific details of the 1,700 pages of EU law that will be disapplied under the Windsor Agreement. (180627)

Tabled on: 14 April 2023

Leo Docherty:

The UK Government is committed to taking the necessary steps to uphold the UK’s international obligations, including the Withdrawal Agreement and the Windsor Framework, as set out in the previous answer. As also set out, all of the rules disapplied are set out in the legal texts published as part of the Windsor Framework. By the EU’s own calculations, less than 3 percent of EU rules apply – with those that remain only applying to secure maximum free trade and market access for Northern Ireland firms. It should also be recognised that this is not a straightforward list, as some of those rules will be applied in part for the red lane but not applied in the green lane, for example. But, for example:

· Annex 1 of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) legal text shows that 67 rules on food and drink do not apply in the green lane – covering issues like marketing standards, food supplements and additives, and the production of organic products. It also disapplies the certification requirements in the EU Official Controls Regulation, as well as the prohibitions on various movements set out therein.

· Requirements in the Union Customs Code (UCC) for rules of origin certificates, tariffs, and commodity codes for each movement do not apply for internal UK trade; nor are there any requirements for customs declarations for consumer parcels, which are classified automatically as “not at risk”. And we have secured unfettered access by removing any need for export declarations or equivalent information for goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain as would otherwise have been set out in the UCC.

· In a similar vein, and as noted previously, the requirements in the VAT Directive which prevented the zero-rating of energy-saving materials has been disapplied, enabling the changes we brought forward in Parliament this week; as have limits on alcohol duty structures in EU rules harmonising excise duty structures.

· And for medicines we have disapplied any role for the European Medicines Agency in authorising medicines for the UK market, as otherwise set out in EU rules on the authorisation and supervision of medicinal products; and removed packaging any other requirements in the Falsified Medicines Directive.

These changes have safeguarded Northern Ireland’s place in the Union and our internal market, while continuing to support Northern Ireland’s businesses by providing them access to the whole UK market as well as the EU market.

The answer was submitted on 24 Apr 2023 at 17:14.


  1. DOM
    April 25, 2023

    This is a pointless exercise. NI’s been annexed by Sunak, Biden and the EU and that’s the end of the matter. It is a direct result of those who vote Labour and Tory.

    John may protest but it is his party’s leaders ie the one he tries to persuade voters to vote for, that is intimately involved in this betrayal. That is the perverse irony of all that we see around us today. Politicians from all sides acting in a manner that is at odds with their own values and beliefs.

    Labour, Tory and SNP are slime and they’ve been slime for decades. Labour and Tory didn’t used to be like this

    1. Denis+Cooper
      April 25, 2023

      This has now been going on for more than seven years, and it has amply demonstrated how scum floats to the top of our political system. It was on April 18 2016 that the Treasury put out George Osborne’s “Project Fear” rubbish so that the traitors in his party would have a plausible excuse for joining with those in other parties to make sure that we stayed in the EU, even in the unlikely event that we voted to leave, and if we did leave then we would leave in name only. Nothing we write here makes the slightest difference; if it did we might not be witnessing the same kind of lies about Northern Ireland now with Rishi Sunak as we did two years ago with Boris Johnson. I suppose it could make some people regret that they voted to leave the EU, but for me the disgusting behaviour of our politicians has only shown how necessary that was if we are to have any hope of restoring our national democracy.

  2. Ashley
    April 25, 2023

    They have chosen not to released data for 2022 (or 2023) yet I meant.

  3. John McDonald
    April 25, 2023

    Thank you Sir John for the pressure you are putting on Government over the Windsor Frame Work. I think it is clear that this is a sell out to the EU which has effectively annexed NI. And probably the rest of the UK as we have not actually left the EU. But this is what the liberal left Globalists in power want. Like they also want unlimited immigration legal or otherwise. Their 5th Column the Civil Service even has the power to get rid of the Deputy Priminister because he challenged what they were doing.
    The Government is happy to spend £ Billions to support the Ukraine Government in it’s war against ethnic Russian Ukrainians , not even consider a ceasefire to save thousands more lives and destruction. But no problem surrendering to the EU even when the UK democratically voted to leave the EU. The US and the EU want NI to be part of the Republic of Ireland. And so do the liberal left. The problem is the majority in the North want to be in the UK. When you think about it not unlike the East of Ukraine and Crimea and ties to Russia. But looks like no matter what citizens vote for, if the Government in power don’t like it – tuff . If you are likely they won’t start shelling you and start a civil war.

    1. John McDonald
      April 25, 2023

      Typo Lucky not Likely , bit of a Freudian slip as they say. Likely in Donbass but hopefully never in NI.

  4. BOF
    April 25, 2023

    1% or100% of EU law applying to NI, and consequently to UK, with oversight of ECJ is a betrayal of Brexit.

    Thank you Rishi Sunak.

    1. Timaction
      April 25, 2023

      Spot on. We voted to leave all of the EU and their Court! Not part of it. Sakes lies will out. ECHR = EU in all but name.

    2. Lemming
      April 26, 2023

      Do kindly tell us your alternative. The Uk could follow EU law, then there would be no need for a GB/NI border. Want that? A hard border could be put between Ireland and NI, then the US would treat the UK as a rogue state on a par with North Korea. Want that? Otherwise, what’s left is a GB/NI border. You were warned about all this in 2016 by Blair and Major, but you Brexiters prefered to stick your fingers in your ears rather than face up to reality

  5. Donna
    April 25, 2023

    In other words, the EU retains governmental control of NI but has graciously permitted some concessions so that bureaucracy for goods travelling between rUK and NI are simplified.

    This supposedly Conservative and Unionist Government has destroyed the Act of Union, broken the Good Friday Agreement betrayed Northern Ireland.

    I wonder how Sunak would feel if an Indian Prime Minister meekly transferred the governance of Indian Kashmir to Pakistan, with no democratic mandate and without the agreement of the people, because Biden told him to?

    1. Timaction
      April 25, 2023

      He doesn’t have a conscience. They all just lie without any thought to morals, standards or ethics. The bubblers need cleansing so we have representative democracy, not this farce of an unelected left wing junta

  6. Banana Republic
    April 25, 2023

    “The UK’s International Obligations”.

    These “obligations” will lead to the destruction of British civilisation which they were surely designed to do anyway.

  7. Dave Andrews
    April 25, 2023

    Personally I would disapply EU law in its entirety to NI.

  8. Cuibono
    April 25, 2023

    Fealty to the King in the form of a tithe of cow hides?
    Not sure exactly what Ireland gets out of this “Windsor” agreement, pact, edict whatever?
    Certainly not sovereignty.
    Was that REALLY such a good choice of name?

  9. Cuibono
    April 25, 2023

    Which faction are we supporting in Sudan?
    Flags? Colours? Refugees? Taking the govt. approved side. Much mass formation of support!
    Meanwhile proxy wars kill thousands.
    And thousands….

  10. Cuibono
    April 25, 2023

    What a truly TERRIBLE sight.
    Policemen RUNNING and on bikes alongside a “PM” in a fleet of luxury, ( armoured?) cars.
    I could not believe my eyes.

    The Emergency alarm went well didn’t it?
    The govt. certainly knows how to choose tech firms!

  11. Denis+Cooper
    April 25, 2023

    Reporting on the views of haulier Mark Tait, yesterday:

    “Central to the WF model is a ‘green lane’ to offer minimal paperwork for goods coming from GB whose end destination was definitely NI.

    All other goods deemed ‘at risk’ of entering the EU via the Republic of Ireland would have to go through the full EU customs checks of the Red Lane.

    However, contrary to UK assurances, he says, the EU text makes it clear that only goods from GB going direct to retail in NI will be eligible to go through the green lane.

    All other goods must go through the red lane – meaning full EU customs paperwork – as the EU deems them at risk of entering the EU/Republic of Ireland, he said.

    The current “simplified” system to get goods across the Irish sea quickly, sees customers completing customs declarations after goods have arrived. But under the WF, he says, this will be replaced by “full customs declarations and checks up front” before the goods are shipped to NI – causing substantial delays.

    Asked if he believes if this threatens his business, he replied: “The short answer is yes… we do not have the staff or financial reserves to deal with that level of bureaucracy – and there could be many like us.”

  12. Ian+wragg
    April 25, 2023

    So fishys statement ti Parliament that 97% of EU law has been disapplied was a lie.
    Surely he should be charged with misleading Parliament but od course it’s OK to lie on EU matters as all governments have done for thr past 40 years.
    Thank the Lord the Unionist parties are exposing the unelected chancer for what he is.

  13. Cuibono
    April 25, 2023

    Is “the blob” trying to do a Raab on Braverman over the Napier Barracks business?
    I do hope they fail.
    If I were a refugee fleeing my war-torn country I would gladly take up a mop and bucket….
    That place looks a bit like my old school….

    1. a-tracy
      April 25, 2023

      Quite agree. Why on earth wouldn’t they clean it up if we are truly saving their life. All our do-Gooders could buy paint and paint brushes for them and do something practical, give them the tools to do it up. Who comes along and gives British teenagers free bed and board if they want to leave home and work elsewhere in the uK.

    2. glen cullen
      April 25, 2023

      I stayed in Napier Barracks a decade ago and given the choice I’d prefer a 4*Hotel …but I wasn’t given the choice and to be honest it wasn’t to bad and I’ve stayed in a lot worse

  14. Sir Joe Soap
    April 25, 2023

    Your party, not to mention any future government, has a real problem in having to claw-back whole hosts of things which should never have been given away by May and Johnson in the first place.

    Sunak now trying to claw-back the fact that UK citizens don’t have access to E-gates while EU citizens have access through ours. A small issue but it just shows how May was trampled on. Equally 90 days access for UK to EU with lots of stamps and restrictions while EU citizens march through to stay 180 days without any questions. Why no reciprocity?

    Really by messing up the whole post-referendum situation your party is disqualified from power. I don’t rate Sunak but at least he’s seen the stupidity of this asymmetricity and started to try to row back. But it was so unnecessary in the first place.

  15. Jude
    April 25, 2023

    That reply read…..or in other words the EU have allowed NI these concessions to EU laws. Think ourselves lucky! Surely, UK decide which laws we will keep. UK supposedly has left EU. Though it appears Westminster & British civil service are totally wedded to the EU flag. About time we tore up the EU laws & tentacles. Just negotiate a trade deal.

  16. Denis+Cooper
    April 25, 2023

    It seems that we’ve gone round in a loop; in February 2021 I had a comment posted on this blog:

    “And greatly magnify it, at least in terms of the volume of goods to be checked when entering Northern Ireland by sea and air in order to ensure that the small fraction of those goods which are destined for the Republic will all conform to EU standards. Technically every wisp of Scottish hay landed at Larne should be checked in case it ends up being taken south of the border, it could be ‘at risk’ of that, potentially contaminating the EU Single Market. Of course we could have a UK law saying that nobody is permitted to transport hay across the border into the Republic without an export licence, which they could lose if they were found to be abusing it, and that system would affect far fewer people and much less hay, but that might be too sensible.”

  17. Javelin
    April 25, 2023

    Hard working tax payers never receive any of their taxes.

    Democracy and society breaks down when Government let the majority of their voters grift off the tax payers.

    1. Timaction
      April 25, 2023

      Its already happened. The 46% are paying for the rest to be idle whilst getting nothing in return. The National Health Service is now for anyone but the English who are pushed to the back of the queue of 7 million and rising due to Tory mass migration policy and import the world from everywhere. 10 million more people on the Tory watch. 500,000 and rising from Hong Kong/Afghanistan/Ukraine since 2015 but still not enough for the Tory rebels who want more and the English with no health service, education or housing. Try getting a dentist appointment unless you’re a boat person. How many illegals deported today Sir john, 1000? 500? 250? No. Not one, zilch, nil. More taxation to pay for these illegals and rising at £7 million daily. It’s either gross incompetence or downright lies as you’ve had years to sort it. Rwanda my ass.

  18. Denis+Cooper
    April 25, 2023

    And two years ago, almost to the day, I sent this email to some contacts in the Republic:

    “I see that HM Customs and Revenue has issued a new edition of this classic work:

    “Declaring goods you bring into Northern Ireland ‘not at risk’ of moving to the EU”

    “Find out if goods you bring into Northern Ireland can be declared ‘not at risk’ of moving to the EU and how to make a ‘not at risk’ declaration.”

    Because the Irish protocol contains a presumption that all goods entering Northern Ireland from a third country (that is, from any other part of the United Kingdom or from other third countries) are at risk of being carried across the land border into the Republic and potentially contaminating the precious EU Single Market, and it is up to importers to make the case that their particular goods should be treated as an exception to that rule.

    Of course it would have been far more sensible to have issued a work entitled:

    “Making sure goods you take into the Irish Republic will be allowed in the EU Single Market”

    “Find out if your export licence will permit you to carry your goods across the open border into the Irish Republic”

    And maybe that is what will have to happen, if the forthcoming judicial review succeeds:

    If the UK government had any decency it would not defend this case, just as it should not have contested the Gina Miller cases.”

  19. James4
    April 25, 2023

    Why do you keep on about this it has already been agreed and as far as I can make out all sides have bent over backwards except the DUP who true to firm would like to drag everything down and have military lookout towers on the border again- but that is not going to happen

    The agreement is made in good faith so let’s get on with it because there are too many other far more serious wars and political upsets happening in the world today without continually raising this local issue.

  20. Bloke
    April 25, 2023

    The EU uses a dodgy calculator

    EU: Our price to you is now £8m.
    UK: That’s not worth it. Your price was £6m last year.
    EU: OK, we’ll let you have 10% better value.
    UK: Show us your calculation.
    EU: £80m – 10% of £80m = £72m.
    UK: Get lost. That’s 20% WORSE value than last year! My name’s not Hunt.
    EU: Well your Chancellor is one of those that agrees with us.

  21. Bloke
    April 25, 2023

    Northern Ireland is part of UK sovereign territory. Leo Docherty claims that the changes provide NI access to the UK market. Something which needed changing to allow our own citizens to buy from each other must have been daft in the first place. Much of the EU is a complicated entanglement of nuisance.

  22. Timaction
    April 25, 2023

    A weak and useless Tory Government, rolling over as usual to their beloved EU. More remainers in the Snake Cabinet now. I wonder why? Fake Conservatives must go. The Snake and Hunt are unelected and not wanted even by the Tory members and certainly not by the rest of the Country. They are wrong on every decision and policy and constantly roll over the the left, in fact they are the left pretending to be right of centre.

  23. Ian B
    April 25, 2023

    Today we learn the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is wrong once more. £13 plus billions out in under a month? That’s more than 8% wrong.

    Make those same mistakes in the wider world and your career is over. This UK Conservative Government must be the only ones that consistently reward failure. Its not a case of tax and spend, more the situation of tax and give it away – there will be no accountability or responsibility while you work at ‘Blob’ & Co

    1. Ian B
      April 25, 2023

      @Ian B -“The CBI’s bad behaviour towards staff goes with plenty of bad advice to government about business and economic policy.” Fellow travellers in the stakes for self-gratification.

      The CBI needs a revised acronym, it does not represent British Business it represents Foreign Business that profits from Britain. Actual real British business are not there they are to busy paying taxes.

  24. Ian B
    April 25, 2023

    ‘Not the right time’ to stop interest rate rises, says ECB chief
    The European Central Bank’s chief economist has said it was “not the right time” to end interest rate increases, despite easing inflation in the eurozone.

    Is that the Boss of the UK Government and the BoE talking?

  25. Atlas
    April 25, 2023

    For all the spin about this Framework, it looks to me that the Remoaners are back in charge. Next I see is an ‘EU style’ energy policy – concerning wind turbines in the North Sea.

    1. Timaction
      April 25, 2023

      It’s worse than that. They are busy hiding energy generation and costs, plus subsidies for not working renewables in our energy bills so the plebs can’t sus their absolute obsession with net stupid……. to save ………..THE WORLD. China and India are laughing their collective socks off whilst Germany brings on line over 20 coal powered electricity stations to comply with the level playing field agreement with the UK….NOT. It’s just out useless Government without any enforcement backbone as usual. One sided enforcement is total capitulation as we are witnessing with Windsor etc.
      We want a Government that stands up for Britain not bends over for the world.

  26. Gabe
    April 25, 2023

    A better attempt? Well not very much better, largely vacuous skirting round the issue as usual.

  27. agricola
    April 25, 2023

    SJR, here is a question you might aim at the PM or Deputy PM.
    “What percentage of civil servants, by government ministry, are working from home and are those working from home still collecting their London Working Allowance”.

    You could follow it with ” How long will this situation persist”.

    I am not against working from home, but dealing with end of day Japan and midday mid USA led to a rather long day. I was self employed so nothing special about that. When I was out of the office I was visiting suppliers or customers around the World. I only had my fellow director secretary to interact with when at home. I didn’t pine for chatting round the water cooler. When I retired I found plenty to do, remodelling my villa in Spain and now doing the same to my home in the UK.

    Only the senior scribes and the customer can judge if WFH produces a satisfactory service. It is not a case of one size fits all, judgements have to be case specific.

  28. Derek
    April 25, 2023

    And the answer was “Waffle waffle”, in a ‘Sir Humphrey’-like attempt to smother the question.
    The truth of the matter is, this Government has again failed to put Britain and the British FIRST.
    We, the United Kingdom (The clue is in the title) voted by a majority to LEAVE the EU. Northern Ireland is part of the UK yet it still remains under some control of the ECJ and by joining the hidden dots – the EU itself. That is a clear sign that the EU still has a hold over us. Why is it allowed? What’s in it for those who promote this scam? How are we Brits to benefit when having to answer to a foreign power?
    Had Mrs T been in power in July 2016 she would have rapidly left the EU and proceeded to negotiate future trade agreements from a position of strength. It is where we should have been under the Cameron/May Governments.
    Does this country ever need an Iron Lady again! YES! It needs a true saviour before we again become a vassal state of the EU and all thanks to the despicably manipulative, anti-Brexit Politicos who still refuse to accept our democratic decision to leave their personal Empire. With persons with power like that against us, this country cannot be called a democracy.

  29. agricola
    April 25, 2023

    Well this caught me out. In an off stage remark after all the foul weather I had suggested a hose pile ban was just around the corner. Here we are, not out of April, and SW Water have just announced one. It belongs to the Pennon Group a rare UK water company. There are not many valleys in Devon and Cornwall that the locals would not object to being turned into a resevoir. So how about a massive desalination plant, as in Israel, run on wind power. Not perfect, but the advocates of windpower say it is as cheap as chips and I was rarely short of wind when sailing the area. SW Water has a problem so hit them with a solution. Presumably there is also the trendy byproduct of sea salt as a bonus. Something to talk about around the water cooler.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 25, 2023

      Desalination in the UK is a waste of energy as we have plenty of fresh water anyway just needs better/more storage. Also grey water systems for loo flushing can save lots of water quite easily and fix the network leaks.

      1. agricola
        April 25, 2023

        Fresh water drops on our heads but somehow it has managed to avoid the resevoirs of SW Water. You add bits about what we could do, but do we ever. In the past I have offered numerous thoughts from a national grid, we have one for aviation fuel, to piping it from Keilder to the South East via a pipe in the North Sea. Israel has produced an answer that serves 75% of the country. I’ve used a pocket version in a yacht, no question it works. Wind generated electricity is claimed to be the cheapest, lets use it. Desalination could cope with its intermittent characteristics.

    2. Berkshire Alan
      April 25, 2023

      You are offering far too many options/solutions.
      Just wait for:
      We want a bigger subsidy from Central Government.
      We want a larger Water rate increase.
      We need to dump more sewerage in the sea.
      Water rationing is just around the corner.

  30. Jameson
    April 25, 2023

    Am glad the government is committed to upholding its obligations under the Windsor Agreement – NI is in the unique position of having access to both GB and EU markets – how fortunate – also it’s citizens can be Irish or British or both and so can carry a UK or EU/ Irish passport or both – the have it all.

    1. Denis+Cooper
      April 25, 2023

      I sent an email about that to Hilary Benn, Labour MP for Leeds Central, headed:

      “Record exports to the EU, but not from Leeds Central”

      Because his constituents are not in Northern Ireland and so have no access to the EU market.

    2. Berkshire Alan
      April 25, 2023

      It also has access to UK money from UK taxpayers !.

      Set up a Registered Company just over the border in the south, Trade in the North and you can have 12.5% tax as well !.

  31. rose
    April 25, 2023

    “The UK Government is committed to taking the necessary steps to uphold the UK’s international obligations, including the Withdrawal Agreement and the Windsor Framework…”

    This is the bit which riles. Why keep tying us up in ill thought out treaties, or rather well thought out by the EU but not by us? Why keep ramming things through Parliament without proper scrutiny or debate? Why have these cats’ cradles of obligations in the first place? We don’t need them.

    1. Timaction
      April 25, 2023

      What we need is Swiss style referendums to stop these idiots signing us up to international agreements without mandate or common sense. Anything they all agree on in Westminster is always against our interests e.g. EU support, net zero, mass immigration, Withdrawal and Windsor agreements etc. We need a brake to gain our democracy back from these fools.

  32. glen cullen
    April 25, 2023

    The Sudan another clever distraction – 2,000 reported UK passport holder in country with perhaps another 2,000 estimated but ‘unknown’
    Holiday makers = nil (Foreign Office advice was not to travel to Sudan)
    Company employees = nil (Companies would have made arrangement weeks ago)
    NGOs = 150’ish (would have escape arrangement in place)
    Embassy = 100’ish (would have escape arrangement in place)
    Sudan citizens with dual UK nationality = 1250 (probably don’t wish to leave family/job/home until last minutes)
    Its taking a lot of government bandwidth

  33. Pauline Baxter
    April 25, 2023

    Under the Windsor Agreement there have been NO reductions of EU law in Northern Ireland.
    Therefor Sunak and the Con Party are perfectly happy for the EU to rule Northern Ireland instead of the United Kingdom ruling there.

  34. halfway
    April 25, 2023

    If the DUP still refuse to enter government in NI then Heaton-Harris should appoint stormont ministers from the attendeees minus DUP according to their percenrsge make up – just so thst a semblance of administration can continue. The people deserve some intervention at this stage to get things moving again.

    Reply That would violate the Good Friday Agreement, part of international law

    1. halfway
      April 26, 2023

      Reply to reply – not so if declared Unionists who turn up from the UUP and Alliance or independents take their place in the assembly ministerial appointments can be shared out

      Reply Not under the Agreement. All Unionists are unhappy with Windsor

  35. Matt
    April 25, 2023

    Fighting in Sudan – well that rules out the plan of sending illegal migrants to Rwanda. Government couldn’t possibly send anyone to this region now

    1. glen cullen
      April 26, 2023

      That’s like saying we couldn’t send anyone below the 40th’parallel

Comments are closed.