UK plans No Surrender to EU on Northern Ireland
THE UK continues to be willing to suspend parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol if the EU refuses to meet its demand, reports Bloomberg.“We haven’t stepped back from the idea of triggering Article 16,” said Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis. “Our focus at the moment is around these ongoing negotiations to try and get a solution, but we are also crystal clear: That can’t go on forever,” said Mr Lewis. Mr Lewis told EU ambassadors behind closed doors that it thought the UK’s threat of ditching parts of the Brexit agreement relating to trade with Northern Ireland may be mitigated. Commission officials argued that the bloc’s forceful negotiating stance had prompted London to soften its position. Under the 2019 Brexit agreement, goods shipped into Northern Ireland from mainland Britain are subject to customs checks if they are at risk of being later moved into the EU. “The EU in the last week or so seems to have just eased a little bit in terms of wanting to find a solution on customs and various things and that’s got to be a good thing,” said Mr Lewis. “We want to get a negotiated outcome because that gives more certainty and stability, and that’s good for Northern Ireland. But if we can’t, we will trigger Article 16 because that is how the protocol works.” said Mr Lewis.