The Government will “have to proceed with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill” without a “negotiated solution with the EU”, the Prime Minister has said.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Liz Truss told MPs in the Commons “we can’t allow the situation to drift”.
Her comments came as DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the outcome of the UK’s negotiations with the EU “must reflect the objectives outlined by the Government” in the proposed legislation.
Raising the issue at PMQs, he said: “Does the Prime Minister agree with me in welcoming the renewed negotiations with the European Union about the Northern Ireland Protocol?
“That the outcome of those negotiations must reflect the objectives outlined by the Government in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill and that this is the key to unlocking the door to political stability in Northern Ireland.”
Ms Truss replied: “I very much agree with (him). We need to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland. That means making sure that we have free flowing trade east-west as well as north-south.
“It means making sure that the people of Northern Ireland can benefit from the same tax benefits as people in Great Britain and it means resolving the issues over governance and regulation.
“Now I would prefer to achieve that through a negotiated solution with the EU but if we’re not able to do that, we can’t allow the situation to drift, we have to proceed with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.”
The Northern Ireland Protocol was aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland but has created economic barriers on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, causing resentment and anger among many unionists and loyalists.
The dispute has created an impasse in efforts to form a devolved government administration in Belfast.
The UK Government has vowed to secure changes to the protocol, either by way of a negotiated compromise with the EU or through proposed domestic legislation – the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill – which would permit the scrapping of the arrangements without the approval of Brussels.
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