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Impact of Brexit assessed as Lord Frost attends European Scrutiny Committee

13 May 2021

The Minister responsible for implementing the Brexit agreement, who also helped negotiate it, Lord David Frost, is to appear before the cross-party European Scrutiny Committee at 2.30pm on Monday 17 May 2021. 

Access to Parliament is limited, but members of the public and the press are invited to watch the proceedings of the Committee in real time on parliamentlive.tv 

Lord Frost is likely to be questioned on, among other issues, the current and future working of the Protocol on Northern Ireland. Under the protocol, in order to avoid the political difficulties of a ‘hard border’ on the island of Ireland, some EU rules continue to apply in Northern Ireland. 

This has led to some controversial new customs regulations between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Lord Frost's comment

During a recent visit to Northern Ireland, Lord Frost said, according to a government statement: 

“It’s clear from my visit that the Protocol is presenting significant challenges for many in Northern Ireland. Businesses have gone to extraordinary efforts to make the current requirements work, but it is hard to see that the way the Protocol is currently operating can be sustainable for long”. 

The Minister, who is the UK co-chair of the EU-UK bodies responsible for managing the post-Brexit relationship, will also be asked about the potential for maximising UK opportunities under the new arrangements. 

In early 2020, at the start of the main Brexit negotiations which sought agreement on the officially-named ‘Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ (TCA), Lord Frost said he expected the UK would obtain gains from Brexit through “good institutions and good politics”. 

He said that even if Brexit entailed a “short-run cost”, this would be “overwhelmed rapidly by the huge gains of having (our) own policy regimes in certain areas.” 

Since the TCA has been concluded, from January 2021, a wide variety of UK businesses have reported serious trade disruption with the EU due to increased red tape. 

Lord Frost is expected to be asked for his response to statements such as, for example, that of the UK’s Institute of Directors. The Institute reported in January 2021 that nearly 20% of their members had decided to implement either a temporary or permanent cessation of trading with the EU. 

Further information

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