Ask Me Anything

Brexit deal ‘Ask Me Anything’ hosted live by chief political commentator John Rentoul

The UK’s chief negotiator has said the Brexit deal is contradictory, but what does that mean for the UK? The Independent’s chief political commentator John Rentoul will be on hand to answer questions

Tuesday 20 July 2021 10:02
<p>David Frost, the Brexit minister</p>

David Frost, the Brexit minister

David Frost, the Brexit minister, is this week expected to announce the government’s plan to solve the problems caused by the Northern Ireland protocol.

EU leaders accuse Lord Frost and Boris Johnson of wanting to depart from the terms of the protocol, part of the international treaty they signed with the UK when we left the European Union.

Lord Frost, on the other hand, insists that the problem is with the interpretation of the protocol, rather than with the protocol itself, and accuses the EU of being inflexible in the way they expect trade arrangements for Northern Ireland to work.

The British position is complicated, however, by the opposition to the protocol of the Democratic Unionist Party, the largest party in the Northern Ireland assembly.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the new DUP leader, said on Monday morning that it was time for EU leaders to admit that the protocol “has failed” and is creating “very substantial trade problems”. Speaking after a virtual meeting with Maros Sefcovic, the EU co-chair of the joint committee charged with implementing the protocol, Sir Jeffrey told the BBC that “both the UK government and the EU must now renegotiate”.

On Wednesday, Lord Frost is set to unveil the government’s proposed changes to the Northern Ireland protocol. He will explain the plans in a statement to parliament to be delivered alongside the release of a new policy paper.

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The Reuters news agency reports that the government is planning to threaten to deviate from parts of the Brexit deal unless the European Union shows more flexibility over the Northern Ireland issue.

In a bid to help explain exactly where the UK has got to with its negotiations, and what is likely to happen next, I will be hosting an Ask Me Anything event at 4pm on Tuesday (20 July). This week could see some fundamental changes to the protocol. If you have questions about what this might mean for the UK, then please post them in the comments section below.

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