Brexit minister offers threat over Northern Ireland protocol

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Jacob Rees-Mogg seems to be giving the EU an ultimatum over Northern Ireland.


Britain’s Brexit opportunities minister has put forward a promise of action over the issue of Northern Ireland as the problem surrounding the protocol continues to rumble on. 
Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs on an EU scrutiny committee that if the EU does not do something soon to reform the Northern Ireland Protocol, then the UK government intends to take unilateral action with the goal of reaching a resolution. 
He pointed out that the arrangement was written in a way that meant it could be superseded if necessary – and that this could soon come to pass. 
“[There is] a lot of commentary that says: ‘Well, we signed it and therefore surely we should accept it lock, stock and barrel.’ That’s absolute nonsense,” Mr Rees-Mogg commented. “There comes a point at which you say: ‘Well, you haven’t reformed it and therefore we are reforming it ourselves’. We can do what we want, ultimately.” 
The comments come as speculation is being reported that Boris Johnson’s government is planning to roll out an ‘internal market bill 2.0’ to tackle the Northern Ireland issue, with the first attempt in 2020 having been shelved. 
Meanwhile, the EU and the UK are still trying to negotiate a new version of the protocol together, but one of the main sticking points continues to be customs paperwork and the need to maintain a border between Europe, the UK and Ireland that is as seamless as possible. 
Unfortunately, little has run smoothly in this department since the UK left the European bloc in January 2020. 
A safeguard clause referred to as Article 16 is in place that would allow either side to completely suspend the protocol should there prove to be ‘serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties’, but concern remains that any move to actually do so could permanently harm EU/UK relations.