‘You signed that agreement!’ Lib Dem Layla Moran urges Boris to cave to EU over Protocol

Northern Ireland: UK criticised by Moran for 'signing the agreement'

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Liberal Democrat MP Moran argued that the DUP and Conservative Party were to blame for the current Brexit row surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol. The trading mechanisms put in place under the terms of the Protocol have left many Unionists in Northern Ireland concerned about higher costs and their constitutional status within the UK. Ms Moran went up against Mr Wilson from the DUP, a party firmly opposed to the Protocol in its current form. 

Ms Moran told BBC Politics Live: “The reason why this is happening is because of the choices the Conservative Party and the DUP made over what type of Brexit they wanted.

“It was inevitable once they decided they wanted the hardest of hard Brexits that there was going to be a border.

“Then a consequence of that was there was going to be checks.

“So that is where we are and they signed that agreement.”

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Mr Wilson slapped down the Lib Dem MP over the “true intent” of the European Union in pushing for the Protocol.

He told BBC Politics Live: “This really shows what the true intent of the Protocol was.

“The true intent of the protocol was to try and tie the whole of the United Kingdom down to the EU regime through the backdoor in Northern Ireland.

“It was not inevitable that there shouldn’t be a border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”

 

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It comes as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned the EU that if it does not show the “requisite flexibility” over the Northern Ireland Protocol the UK will have “no choice but to act” alone.

Following a call with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, a Foreign Office spokesman said Ms Truss made clear that the UK’s “overriding priority” is to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland.

She told Mr Sefcovic the protocol has become “the greatest obstacle” to forming a new Northern Ireland Executive.

Following last week’s elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the DUP is refusing to enter into a new powersharing administration with Sinn Fein unless there are significant changes to the protocol which governs post-Brexit trading arrangements.

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However, according to the Foreign Office readout of the call, Mr Sefcovic again insisted that there is “no room to expand the EU negotiating mandate or introduce new proposals to reduce the overall level of trade friction”.

The spokesman said: “The Foreign Secretary noted this with regret and said the situation in Northern Ireland is a matter of internal peace and security for the United Kingdom, and if the EU would not show the requisite flexibility to help solve those issues, then, as a responsible Government, we would have no choice but to act.”

The latest row came as months of tensions over the working of the protocol – which forms part of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU – appear to be coming to a head.

Under its terms, the UK is required to impose checks on some goods crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in order to maintain an open border with the Republic while protecting the EU single market.

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