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Minister questioned on NI Protocol

14 June 2021

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee session covers the implementation and impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol which avoided the need for a border on the island of Ireland following Brexit by placing customs and regulatory checks on goods movements across the Irish Sea.

Witness

Wednesday 16 June 2021, virtual meeting

At 9.30am

  • Rt Hon. Lord Frost, Minister of State for the Cabinet Office

At the session, MPs are likely to question Lord Frost on the progress of negotiations with the EU to ease trade friction between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There has been growing frustration between the two parties recently, with his EU counterpart, Maros Sefcovic, telling media this week that patience was ‘wearing very, very thin’ after the latest round of talks on Wednesday ended in stalemate on some key issues.

The UK is yet to implement some of the GB to NI trade checks and the border control posts that it agreed to, a major gripe of the EU’s. However, the UK feels that the EU is not holding up its end of the Protocol to ‘impact everyday life as little as possible’ in Northern Ireland.

The next major deadline is 1 July when checks on meat products, such as sausages, are due to be introduced. Failure to reach a veterinary agreement or to agree an extension would make it more costly for meaty foods from one part of the UK to reach another part in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month, Lord Frost reportedly told a group of NI businesspeople that he thought that the Protocol was ‘unsustainable’, comments that will also likely be probed by the Committee.

Further information

Image: Open Government Licence v3.0/Crown copyright