Boris Johnson issues Northern Ireland Brexit warning to EU

Boris Johnson says the UK is ready and willing to unilaterally tear up border controls and post-Brexit bureaucracy in Northern Ireland unless the EU gives ground during talks as PM urges Brussels to use “common sense”

  • Boris Johnson repeatedly threatens over post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland
  • He said the UK was ready to unilaterally tear up the rules if the EU did not cede ground for talks
  • Mr Johnson urged the EU to use ‘common sense’ and said ‘we need to fix’ the protocol










Boris Johnson told the EU today that the UK is ready and willing to unilaterally tear up post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland unless the bloc gives ground in critical talks.

The Prime Minister said that with “good will and common sense, I think we can solve” the problems caused by the Northern Ireland protocol.

But he said ‘if our friends don’t exercise the requisite common sense, of course we will trigger Article 16’.

Triggering Article 16 of the protocol would mean the UK alone would decide to suspend border controls and such a move would trigger a furious response from Brussels.

Boris Johnson told the EU today that the UK is ready and willing to unilaterally tear up post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland unless the bloc gives ground in critical talks.

The Prime Minister said that with

Prime Minister says with ‘good will and common sense I think we can solve’ the problems caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol

Mr Johnson’s comments came after DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson asked the Prime Minister on Sunday for a ‘firm commitment’ that the government would trigger Article 16 if the UK cannot strike a deal compromise with the EU.

The DUP’s Paul Givan resigned as Prime Minister last week, effectively bringing down the Stormont executive ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections in May.

The resignation was a protest against the protocol, as the DUP threatened not to return to power-sharing unless issues around the border were resolved.

The protocol was negotiated as part of the Brexit deal to avoid a hard border with Ireland, effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single goods market.

But trade unionists have pushed for it to be scrapped because of the trade barriers it has created on products crossing the Irish Sea from Britain.

The UK and EU remain locked in talks as they try to agree solutions to make the protocol easier to work, but a breakthrough remains elusive.

The UK has repeatedly threatened to trigger Article 16 of the protocol to unilaterally tear up border rules if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.

The issue was raised during lunchtime Prime Minister’s Questions by Tory MP Gareth Bacon who said: ‘The Northern Ireland protocol has frustrated business, it undermines the Belfast deal and restricts the free movement of goods and people within our United Kingdom.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson on Sunday demanded a

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson on Sunday demanded a ‘firm commitment’ from the Prime Minister for the government to trigger Article 16 if the UK fails to strike a compromise deal with the EU

“What action will my right hon. friend, the Union Secretary, take now to reunite the United Kingdom and defend the interests of all residents, including those who live in Northern Ireland?”

Mr Johnson replied: “My honorable friend is absolutely correct as the protocol does not require, unlike the way it is enforced by our friends, that it does not require that all food and medicine and all plants are systematically checked in the way they are.

“And we have to fix it and with good will and common sense I think we can fix it.

“But if our friends don’t exercise the required common sense, we will of course trigger Article 16.”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic are due to meet again in London this week to continue negotiations aimed at cutting red tape associated with the protocol.

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