Boris Johnson today told the EU that the UK is ready and willing to unilaterally tear up post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland unless the bloc gives ground during crunch talks
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Boris Johnson says the UK is ready and willing to unilaterally TEAR UP post-Brexit border checks and red tape in Northern Ireland unless the EU gives ground during talks as the PM urges Brussels to show some ‘common sense’

  • Boris Johnson repeated threat over post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland
  • He said UK willing to unilaterally tear up rules if EU fails to give ground in talks
  • Mr Johnson urged EU to show ‘common sense’ and said ‘we must fix’ protocol 

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

The Prime Minister said that with ‘good will and with common sense I believe we can fix’ the problems caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

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

Triggering Article 16 of the protocol would mean the UK deciding on its own to suspend border checks and such a move would spark a furious response from Brussels.    

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

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

The Prime Minister said that with 'good will and with common sense I believe we can fix' the problems caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol

The Prime Minister said that with ‘good will and with common sense I believe we can fix’ the problems caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol

Mr Johnson’s comments came after DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson demanded a ‘firm commitment’ from the PM on Sunday that the Government will trigger Article 16 if the UK cannot strike a compromise deal with the EU.   

The DUP’s Paul Givan resigned as First Minister last week in a move which effectively collapsed Stormont’s Executive ahead of Northern Ireland Assembly elections in May. 

The resignation was in protest at the protocol, with the DUP having threatened not to return to powersharing unless issues around the border are resolved. 

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

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

The UK and EU remain locked in talks as they try to agree solutions to smooth the operation of the protocol but a breakthrough remains elusive. 

The UK has repeatedly threatened to trigger Article 16 of the protocol to unilaterally tear up the border rules if the two sides cannot strike an agreement.   

The issue was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions at lunchtime by Tory MP Gareth Bacon who said: ‘The Northern Ireland Protocol has frustrated business, it is undermining the Belfast Agreement and is restricting the free movement of goods and people within our United Kingdom.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson demanded a 'firm commitment' from the PM on Sunday that the Government will trigger Article 16 if the UK cannot strike a compromise deal with the EU

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson demanded a ‘firm commitment’ from the PM on Sunday that the Government will trigger Article 16 if the UK cannot strike a compromise deal with the EU

‘What action will my right honourable friend, the Minister for the Union, now take to reunite the United Kingdom and uphold the interests of all residents, including those living in Northern Ireland?’ 

Mr Johnson replied: ‘My honourable friend is quite right because the protocol does not require, contrary to the way it is being applied by our friends, it does not require that all foods and all medicines and all plants should be systematically checked in the way that they are.

‘And we must fix it and with good will and with common sense I believe we can fix it.

‘But if our friends don’t show the requisite common sense then of course we will trigger Article 16.’ 

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic are set to meet again in London this week to continue negotiations aimed at reducing the red tape associated with the protocol. 

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