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Lib Dems condemn plans to scrap Northern Ireland Protocol

June 9, 2022 2:18 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have joined with Liberal parties from across Europe to condemn the British government's proposals to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The annual ALDE Congress last weekend in Dublin called for genuine, workable solutions to the Protocol as opposed to the current ideological approach.

This initiative was proposed jointly by the Liberal Democrats, Northern Ireland's Alliance Party and Ireland's governing party Fianna Fáil, and supported by sister Liberal parties across Europe.

Liberal Democrats are urging the UK Government to abandon its plans for domestic legislation overriding the Northern Ireland Protocol - warning that it is a breach of international law, and would result in a trade war during the cost of living emergency.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

"At a moment when the UK should be working in lockstep with our allies in the face of Russia's aggression, unilateral action on the Protocol would ignite a diplomatic firestorm.

"As well as being a clear breach of international law and hurting our global reputation, such a move would be deeply damaging domestically too - not least in Northern Ireland, where it would be destabilising.

"The Conservatives are embarking on a course of action which could lead to a trade war with our closest neighbours. This would turn a cost of living emergency into a nightmare."

Naomi Long, leader of the Alliance Party, said:

"The Alliance Party very much welcomes this positive gesture of solidarity from our liberal sister parties in Europe, which makes clear the opposition right across Europe to the UK government's retrograde threat of unilateral action over the NI Protocol.

"The Protocol makes the best of a bad situation for Northern Ireland by providing a necessary new set of rules governing the trade divergence resultant from a reckless hard Brexit, pushed by the Conservative Party and the DUP. Any changes to the Protocol must be accomplished through pragmatic engagement and partnership between the EU and UK government. The correct channel for this is the EU-UK Joint Committee and will not be achieved by any partner acting alone.

"Unilateral action will only undermine trust, heighten political tension in Northern Ireland and risk provoking a trade war."