Northern Ireland Brexit trade agreements should have 'symmetry and balance', PM says

  • Video report from ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Post-Brexit trade arrangements in Northern Ireland should have “symmetry and balance”, Boris Johnson said on a visit to the region.Unionists are alarmed at extra red tape on trade from the rest of the UK caused by post-Brexit arrangements introduced to keep the Irish land border open.

On Friday, Boris Johnson said: “There has got to be a balance and symmetry in that.

“We want to ensure that the protocol upholds the wishes of both communities and has the consent of both. There has got to be East-West consent to what is going on as well as North-South."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson elbow bumps a member of the public at the Lakeland Forum vaccination centre in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Credit: PA

When asked how he was going to achieve that consent, the Prime Minister said the government was taking "lawful" and "technical" measures to build up confidence in the "East-West operation".The Prime Minister also insisted that the protocol should guarantee the peace process and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Loyalists have expressed growing discontent at what they see as measures threatening Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

  • Boris Johnson makes the case for "East-West consent"

Consent was enshrined in the peace process.

The British Government has unilaterally extended until October some grace periods of light-touch regulation on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain, which had been due to end at the end of this month.

Mr Johnson said: “We think it is lawful, indeed we think it is right, in view of the impact on the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement and the need to have consent from both communities.”

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