Truss faces demands to give EU an ‘absolute deadline’ over protocol issues

The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed by the UK and EU as a way to maintain a free-flowing land border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

Richard Wheeler
Tuesday 08 March 2022 13:22
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (Jonathan McCambridge/PA)
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (Jonathan McCambridge/PA)

Liz Truss has sidestepped demands to give Brussels an “absolute deadline” to resolve concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Foreign Secretary told MPs the agreement “simply isn’t working” and has resulted in communities in Northern Ireland being “treated unfairly”.

But while Ms Truss pressed for “movement from the EU”, she stopped short of meeting the deadline request made by DUP MP Ian Paisley (North Antrim).

The protocol was agreed by the UK and EU as a way to maintain a free-flowing land border on the island of Ireland after Brexit, although difficulties have been reported since it came into force.

I can assure (Mr Paisley) that I am dealing with this matter, I met various European countries last week to discuss reforming the Northern Ireland Protocol, which simply isn't working

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss

After MPs had raised several questions about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mr Paisley told Foreign Office questions in the Commons: “I think the importance of the international events that the House is dealing with this morning is a clear demonstration that the department is not the right place for the protocol to be ultimately dealt with.

“But on that vein can I ask the Secretary of State that she recognises the huge damage being done with the protocol, it’s costing £100,000 per hour to businesses in Northern Ireland, it’s damaged the sovereignty of Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom, it’s costing haulage a 27% increase in prices.

“Will the Secretary of State now set a deadline, an absolute deadline to deal with this matter once and for all?”

Ms Truss replied: “I can assure (Mr Paisley) that I am dealing with this matter, I met various European countries last week to discuss reforming the Northern Ireland Protocol, which simply isn’t working.

“What we have is communities in Northern Ireland being treated unfairly, we have an issue of getting goods from GB into Northern Ireland, we put forward a concrete proposal that will also protect the EU single market and we need to see movement from the EU.”

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