Image Source: Irish Examiner
Rishi Sunak says he is doing everything he can to get Northern Ireland a new Brexit deal and wants to get the job done regarding the NI protocol.
But the prime minister said that the UK and the European Union had yet to reach a deal.
Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, said the UK was close to a deal.
He said, “This would be a really important deal if we could get this done. We’re almost there, we’ve made a lot of progress, but we’re not there yet.”
Leo Varadkar, the prime minister of Ireland, said that the trade deal between Great Britain and Northern Ireland was getting closer and closer to being done.
A source at No. 10 has said that the talks are going well.
The taoiseach asked politicians from the UK, Brussels, and Northern Ireland to “go the extra mile” to get the NI protocol done.
After the UK left the European Union, the NI Protocol was made under the leadership of former PM Boris Johnson.
It says that Northern Ireland will keep following some EU laws so that goods can move freely across the border into the Republic of Ireland without being checked.
Instead, according to the NI protocol, goods from England, Scotland, and Wales are checked when they enter Northern Ireland ports.
Critics, like the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, say this hurts the country’s standing in the rest of the UK and trade.
Because of its worries, the DUP is blocking the formation of a devolved government in Northern Ireland. The DUP also wants the EU to have less control over the rules.
The UK and the EU have been talking about how to move forward. They are close to making a new deal, which the prime minister has been trying to get people to support.
The prime minister said, “The fact that the EU can enforce laws on Northern Ireland without them having a say is not acceptable.” He also said that keeping Northern Ireland stable is very important.
On BBC Sunday, Dominic Raab told Laura Kuenssberg that the government had “made progress” in talks about the Northern Ireland Protocol but that an agreement was “not there yet.”
He said the UK wants to stop checking every shipment of goods from the rest of Britain that goes to Northern Ireland.
Instead, the EU should be told to use an intelligence-based approach.
He also said that any new trade rules that affect Northern Ireland should be subject to a “democratic check” in Northern Ireland.
When asked if MPs would get to vote on any new deal, Mr. Raab said that parliament could say what it wanted.
The BBC also knows that King Charles was supposed to meet with the head of the European Commission in the UK on Saturday.
Sky News first said the King would meet with Ursula von der Leyen. However, this meeting was separate from the talks between the UK and the EU. Several sources said that her visit was canceled because of logistics.
A DUP source told the BBC they didn’t meet over the weekend to discuss the NI protocol.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the DUP, has said in the past that the goal for London and Brussels should be to get this right and take their time.
Some Conservative MPs have put pressure on the prime minister because Northern Ireland has to follow some EU laws and answer to the European Court of Justice right now.
Mark Francois, who is in charge of a group of Euroskeptic Tory MPs called the European Research Group, told Mr. Sunak that bringing in a new deal without letting MPs vote on it would be “extremely foolish.”
What is the NI protocol?
During Brexit talks, a trade deal called the NI Protocol was worked out. It lets goods move across the land border of Ireland without being checked.
Before Brexit, moving goods across this border was easy because both sides followed the same EU rules. Northern Ireland has a land border with the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the EU. When the UK left the EU, special trade arrangements were needed.
The EU has strict rules about food, and milk and eggs from countries outside of the EU have to be checked at the border.
Because of Northern Ireland’s troubled political history, the land border is a touchy subject. As part of these checks, cameras or border posts were feared to cause instability.
The UK and the EU both agreed that protecting the peace deal for Northern Ireland, called the “Good Friday agreement,” was the most important thing.
Read Also: Northern Ireland protocol explained
So, as part of the agreement to leave the EU, both sides signed the NI Protocol.
It is now part of the law around the world.