Liz Truss is grilled by Kay Burley on Northern Ireland Protocol
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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is looking to introduce new legislation to override elements of the Northern Ireland protocol and suspend border checks in the Irish Sea for goods not destined for the EU. The protocol has caused friction as the Democratic Unionist Party refuses to join a power-sharing administration with Sinn Féin unless concerns over the post-Brexit arrangement are addressed.
Ms Truss warned the House of Commons of the “urgency of the situation” last week.
On Tuesday, May 17, she told MPs: “To respond to the very grave and serious situation in Northern Ireland, we are clear there’s a necessity to act to ensure the institutions can be restored as soon as possible.
“The Bill will put in place the necessary measures to lessen the burden on East-West trade.
“It will ensure goods moving and staying in the UK are freed of unnecessary bureaucracy.”
Her proposal involves a dual model to filter goods exempt from customs controls.
The unilateral action could anger Brussels and Dublin as both warn that the bloc’s trade deal could be ripped up as a result.
The European Commission has threatened a tough response if unilateral action is taken including the scrapping of the Brexit trade deal.
In a statement responding to Ms Truss’s announcement last week the EU Commission said the proposal raises “significant concerns”.
A spokesperson said: “Unilateral actions contradicting an international agreement are not acceptable.
“The Withdrawal Agreement and its Protocol are the necessary foundation for the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
“Should the UK decide to move ahead with a Bill disapplying constitutive elements of the Protocol, the EU will need to respond with all measures at its disposal.”
Express.co.uk readers were asked if they thought changing the Northern Ireland protocol – formed as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement – would put future trade deals at risk.
In a poll that ran from 7am on Friday, May 20, to 2pm on Tuesday, May 24, Express.co.uk asked: “Does Northern Ireland protocol row put future trade deals at risk?”
A total of 1,518 people cast their votes with the overwhelming majority answering “no”, the Northern Ireland row does not put the future of Brexit at risk.
Meanwhile, 14 percent (220 people) said “yes”, it does, and a further two percent (27 people) said they did not know.
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts in a lively debate.
Username RSHANNON3 said: “If anything, I think it will strengthen our arm.”
Username uncivilservant said: “Why would it? If anything in the past year and a half (and beyond) the UK have shown that we are more than willing to go far beyond the point of sensibility in attempting to find negotiated solutions.”
And username daryle9052 wrote: “NO! It does not put Brexit at risk, one way or the other, it guarantees it.”
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However, others thought that the introduction of unilateral action showed that the UK is untrustworthy.
Username CooleRaine said: “Fact is, any country breaking international agreements immediately loses credibility.”
Username Westsussex wrote: “Yes, obviously if the UK can’t be trusted.”
And username rkrav12 said: “Short answer is yes”, future trade deals are at risk.
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