‘A mess’, ‘unrealistic’, ‘doctrine of necessity’ – three views on Northern Ireland Protocol divisiveness | UK News


Boris Johnson has sparked a new row with the European Union after the government unveiled plans to override the Northern Ireland Protocol section of its Brexit deal.

The new legislation creates a framework for ministers meeting in Westminster to introduce changes in four areas covering customs and agri-food safety controls, regulation, subsidy controls and the role of the European Court of Justice.

However, it sparked a wave of criticism across the UK and Europe.

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Who Opposes the NI Protocol Bill?

Here, three Sky News correspondents share their thoughts on the government’s plans.

Political correspondent Rob Powell:

You don’t have to look far into the 20-page ‘Northern Ireland Protocol Bill’ to understand why this legislation is hurting so many people so much.

Cast your eyes to paragraph 1, section (a) and you will read “this Act provides that certain specific provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol have no effect in the UK”.

Clearly, fragments of a treaty signed with the EU can be removed from British law without permission from Brussels.

So how can this be within the parameters of international law?

The answer to this lies in the dramatic concept of the “doctrine of necessity”.

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UK acts ‘according to law’ on NI protocol

Northern Ireland Protocol Bill published; Starmer investigated by the standards commissioner | Live Policy Updates

The ministers essentially argue that the situation in Northern Ireland caused by the protocol is so serious that the government can renege on its international commitments to find a solution.

Expect lawyers in the UK and beyond to argue against it in the weeks and months to come.

Also expect a rebellion from Tory MPs and attempts to block the bill from the House of Lords.

Irish correspondent Stephen Murphy:

Boris Johnson would very much like DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to happily return to Stormont with a copy of the new bill in his back pocket and have the ‘protocol problem’ sorted out.

That would give the embattled prime minister a resounding victory. Restorer of Stormont, protector of the peace process, he could revel in an immediate reward for his bold unilateral action on Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, that won’t happen – at least not in the foreseeable future.

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DUP: “correct” PM on NI protocol

Majority of Northern Ireland Assembly members say they reject ‘reckless’ protocol legislation

Sir Jeffrey made it clear to me and other media colleagues that his party would not be returned to power sharing.

The DUP will take this bill and its provisions and put them to their “seven tests” on the protocol.

Then, and only then, could the party feel reassured enough to step into the new executive.

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Sinn Fein: PM’s actions on NI protocol ‘unlawful’

As for Sinn Fein, the frustration is palpable.

They can call this move illegal as often as they want, but they are strangers to Westminster and know that fundamentally a way out of this “mess”, as Michelle O’Neill described it, is somewhere between London and Brussels.

European correspondent Adam Parsons:

It only took a few minutes for the European Union to react to this bill to reshape and rewrite the Northern Ireland protocol, and the reaction was uncompromising.

Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said the protocol remained the only way to balance the needs of the Good Friday Agreement, Brexit and the EU’s single market.

The idea of ​​renegotiating it now was, he said, “unrealistic”.

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The EU will not renegotiate the NI protocol

Behind the scenes, diplomats vary from furious to tired.

Many claim they are being “played” – that the protocol is being used by Boris Johnson to distract his critics and appease his core supporters.

“All this pain just to try to satisfy the DUP,” a senior official told me.

Legal proceedings now seem inevitable. Confidence evaporated.

Relations between Westminster and Brussels, which were already appalling, have just gotten even worse.

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