We need to curtail worst excesses of the Northern Ireland Protocol – Aiken

Ulster Unionist leader, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has stated that the negotiations between the EU and UK have delivered two bureaucratic systems, one of which we will have minimal say in and none in the other.

Mr Aiken said:

“The Ulster Unionist Party takes the position that a deal agreed between the UK and EU is better than no deal, but this is only because it was the least-worst option. We won`t be supporting the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement. Many non-tariff barriers have now been created, and we have been inflicted with the Protocol meaning that Northern Ireland will have to deal with the consequences of two bureaucratic systems. We will have a minimal say in one, and none in the other.

“In the short to medium term we need to see the worst excesses of the Northern Ireland Protocol curtailed so that businesses can continue to trade with our biggest market which is in Great Britain. Derogation from the implications of the Irish Sea Border should be sought for as long as possible, in terms of years rather than a few short months.

“The Executive should insist on having the ability to call for an Article 16 ‘emergency break’ through the Joint Committee. We have asked the Attorney General to report on the primacy of the Northern Ireland Assembly and detail areas where legislative and regulatory competency have been removed from our oversight and control and placed with the EU.

“The Belfast Agreement has been undermined and the principle of consent overridden by the Protocol which has potentially profound implications for the democratic process here in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, the continuous xenophobic anti-British rhetoric around BREXIT by some nationalist politicians must stop.

“The DUP now seek to absolve themselves of being complicit in facilitating Boris Johnson to negotiate the Protocol but it was their strategic naivety in welcoming his proposals as ‘a serious and sensible way forward’ on 2 October 2019, which included a regulatory border in the Irish Sea and border inspection posts, which gave the Prime Minister the green light to do what he has done. They bear huge responsibility for the role they have played in delivering a border in the Irish Sea.”  

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