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Call for Evidence

Call for evidence

The House of Lords European Affairs Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/ Northern Ireland was appointed in April 2021, to consider all matters related to the Protocol, including scrutinising EU legislation applying to Northern Ireland under the Protocol, the Protocol’s overall socio-economic and political impact on Northern Ireland, and to engage in inter-parliamentary dialogue, notably with the Northern Ireland Assembly. In July 2021, the Committee published an introductory report into the socio-economic and political impact of the Protocol in its first seven months of operation. The Committee is undertaking a follow-up inquiry into developments in relation to the Protocol since July 2021, including the Northern Ireland Assembly elections on 5 May 2022 and subsequent reports that the UK Government is considering bringing forward domestic legislation in relation to the Protocol. The Committee began taking oral evidence in March before the commencement of the Assembly election campaign, and will continue to do so during May. The Committee also welcomes submissions of written evidence via this Call for Evidence.

If you wish to contribute your experience and expertise to the inquiry, please respond to the questions below. There is no obligation to answer every question.

The deadline for submissions is 9am on Monday 6 June 2022.

Diversity comes in many forms, and hearing from a range of different perspectives means that Committees are better informed and can more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation. Committees can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors or groups in society affected by a particular policy or piece of legislation. We encourage anyone with experience or expertise of the issues under investigation to share their views with the committee, with the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome. Information on how to submit evidence is set out below. If you have any questions or require adjustments to enable you to respond, please email hlprotocol@parliament.uk or phone 020 7219 2466.

Questions

Overview

(1) What is your assessment of the overall socio-economic and political impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland since the publication of this Committee’s introductory report in July 2021? What lessons can be drawn from the Protocol’s operation since it came into force?

(2) How can the current political impasse between the UK and the EU over the Protocol be resolved?

The practical impact of the Protocol

(3) What would you identify as the main practical issues that have arisen in relation to the Protocol’s operation, including both for GB and Northern Ireland-based businesses? To what extent have these issues been ameliorated or exacerbated over the past year?

(4) Which aspects of the Protocol’s operation are creating most difficulties? Which practical modifications to the operation of the Protocol would make it operate more effectively?

(5) What impact has the Protocol, and UK withdrawal more broadly, had on trade flows between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland, and between Northern Ireland and the EU? What trade data is available to illustrate these impacts?

(6) What is the impact of regulatory divergence between the UK (in respect of Great Britain) and the EU upon the operation of the Protocol and the ability to identify solutions to the current problems?

Benefits and potential opportunities

(7) What, if any, benefits has the Protocol had for Northern Ireland, and what, if any, potential opportunities might it provide for?

Alternatives to the Protocol

(8) Is there a viable alternative to the Protocol? To what extent would such alternatives address the priorities and concerns of each side?

Social and political attitudes to the Protocol

(9) How would you characterise the attitudes of the communities in Northern Ireland in relation to the Protocol? Are these attitudes evolving, and what impact is this having on inter-community relations?

(10) What impact has the Protocol had on continued political instability and uncertainty in Northern Ireland, and vice versa? In the context of the outcome of the May 2022 Northern Ireland Assembly elections, how can these political disagreements over the Protocol be overcome?

(11) How can concerns about the perceived democratic deficit at the heart of the Protocol, in view of the continued dynamic application of significant areas of EU law to Northern Ireland in the absence of UK participation in the EU institutions, be addressed?

The UK and EU approach

(12) What is your assessment of the UK Government’s approach to and management of the impact of the Protocol since the publication of its Command Paper in July 2021?

(13) What would be the political, legal and socio-economic impact if the UK Government a) brings forward domestic legislation in relation to the Protocol, and/or b) uses the safeguarding mechanism contained in Article 16 of the Protocol?

(14) What is your assessment of the EU’s approach to and management of the impact of the Protocol over the past year, including the publication of its four ‘non-papers’ in October 2021? Has it done enough to take account of concerns over the Protocol?

(15) Are the EU’s proposals sufficient to mitigate the impact of the Protocol on movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

(16) Do you see any grounds for compromise between the UK and EU’s positions that would respect both sides’ concerns?

GUIDANCE FOR MAKING SUBMISSIONS

Written submissions should be made online using the form available at: https://committees.parliament.uk/submission/#/evidence/2630/preamble

This is a public call for evidence. Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may wish to respond.

Short, concise submissions, of no more than six pages, are preferred. A longer submission should include a one-page summary. Paragraphs should be numbered. Submissions should be dated, with a note of the author’s name, and of whether the author is acting on an individual or corporate basis. All submissions made through the written submission form will be acknowledged automatically by email. This does not constitute formal acceptance of evidence by the Committee, which takes place when the Committee meets.

Personal contact details supplied to the Committee will be removed from submissions before publication but will be retained by the Committee staff for specific purposes relating to the Committee’s work, such as seeking additional information.

Submissions become the property of the Committee, which will decide whether to accept them as evidence. Evidence may be published by the Committee at any stage. It will normally appear on the Committee’s website and will be deposited in the Parliamentary Archives.

Once you have received notification that your submission has been accepted as evidence and published by the Committee, you may publicise or publish it yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. If you publish your evidence separately, you should be aware that you will be legally responsible for its content.

You can follow the progress of the inquiry at: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/6568/followup-inquiry-on-the-impact-of-the-protocol-on-irelandnorthern-ireland/

This call for written evidence has now closed.

Go back to Follow-up inquiry on the impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Inquiry