Minister questioned on Government plans to legislate over the Protocol
The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Sub-Committee will hear evidence from Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, Minister for Europe and North America, on the Government’s proposals to legislate in relation to the Protocol.
On 16 May, the Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, announced that the Government intended to bring forward domestic legislation before the summer recess to deal with the perceived negative impact of the Protocol. This will be the first FCDO ministerial appearance before a parliamentary committee to discuss the Government’s proposals since they were announced. The Minister’s evidence will contribute to the Committee’s follow-up inquiry into the impact of the Protocol, following on from the Committee’s July 2021 introductory report.
- Can you explain the rationale behind the Government’s announcement of its “intention to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to make changes to the Protocol”? How will parallel processes of legislation and talks with the EU be pursued in practice, and what is the status of the Protocol in the meantime?
- What does the Government mean in the context of the Protocol when it states that “we need to restore the balance” in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement? What steps need to be taken in relation to the Protocol to ensure that the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly are able to function fully?
- What is the basis for the Foreign Secretary’s statement that “proceeding with the Bill is consistent with our obligations in international law”?
- What is the Government’s overall assessment of the economic impact of the Protocol, including on the balance of trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, Ireland and the EU?
- What is the basis for the Government’s assessment that the EU’s proposals as set out in its October 2021 non-papers “would go backward from the situation we have today with the standstill”?
- Can you explain how the proposed “green channel” for goods from Great Britain destined for Northern Ireland, and a new dual regulatory regime in Northern Ireland will work in practice?
- Can you summarise the Government’s concerns in relation to the governance, VAT and subsidy control provisions of the Protocol? How does it wish to see these addressed?