EU slammed as Hunt exposes 'technical solutions' to Brexit conundrum
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Jeremy Hunt has called on the European Union to agree to technical solutions to put the Northern Ireland Brexit Protocol conundrum to rest once and for all. The Protocol has gained renewed attention after Boris Johnson’s Government unilaterally decided to change the Protocol to solve the Irish Sea border issue. The unionist DUP refused to form a power-sharing government with Sinn Fein following Northern Ireland’s local election over that border.
The DUP fear the border in the Irish Sea exacerbates the cost-of-living crisis and further separate Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
To broker that stalemate, MP Hunt hit out at the EU for discarding technical solutions: “The EU won’t allow that.
“They won’t allow us that try that solution.
“At the moment, we are not allowing the lorries to do it.”
Jeremy Hunt suggested removing trade controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
In her speech to the Commons, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss proposed a new bill to scrap the Irish Sea border and allow the free trade of goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Mr Hunt told LBC it was obvious no Prime Minister could accept a customs border inside the UK’s internal market.
He said: “The reality is no British prime minister whomever it was in number 10 can tolerate a situation where you can’t have a free flow of goods from mainland Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
“And you know from the EU’s point of view, this is an area where they do have to be flexible.
“And look, I understand their frustration having signed an agreement and Boris Johnson now wants to change it this soon.”
The EU and the UK agreed on the Irish Sea border and signed the Northern Ireland Protocol in January 2020.
EU’s Brexit Commissioner Maros Sefcovic has since refused to renegotiate the protocol despite the UK Government’s repeated calls.
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But the Protocol is now creating political instability in Northern Ireland.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has made it clear he would not nominate a speaker until all his concerns over the Protocol were addressed, meaning Northern Ireland won’t have a Government for the foreseeable future.
“I do think that technical solutions can work fine”, Mr Hunt said.
“And the technical solutions that I think are really working in Northern Ireland is to say there’s no paperwork for any products exported from mainland UK to Northern Ireland.
“But if you send those products onto the Republic of Ireland inside the EU’s single market, the law will come down on you like a ton of bricks.
“And that can work.”
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