Brexit row between Ulster and Brussels deepens: Lord Frost accuses Brussels, “destroying cross-community consent”, over enforcement of Northern Ireland Protocol

  • Brexit chief Lord Frost said Brussels has ‘destroyed cross-community consent’
  • He said overly strict enforcement of the Northern Ireland Protocol was to blame 
  • He has written a paper in which he accused it Attempting to endanger the Good Friday Agreement 

Brussels has ‘destroyed cross-community consent’ with its overly strict enforcement of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Lord Frost claimed.

The Brexit chief stated that the protocol is starting to damage the Good Friday Agreement, despite it being designed to protect it.

In a Policy Exchange think-tank paper published today, he accused the EU of behaving ‘without regard to the huge political, economic and identity sensitivities involved’ in the country.

Last month the UK and the EU put forward proposals to address the dispute over the Protocol, which was negotiated by Lord Frost

Last month, the UK proposed to the EU proposals to resolve the dispute regarding the Protocol, which was negotiated and signed by Lord Frost

The protocol was negotiated to avoid a hard border by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market.

Unionists, however, want it scrapped because of the trade restrictions it has imposed on products crossing into the Irish Sea.

Lord Frost said the operation of the Protocol ‘has begun to damage the thing it was designed to protect – the Belfast Good Friday Agreement’.

‘The insistence of the EU on treating these arrangements as like any other part of its customs and single market rules, without regard to the huge political, economic, and identity sensitivities involved, has destroyed cross-community consent well before the four-year mark,’ he wrote.

‘We also have the lived experience of aspects that are simply unsustainable in the long-term for any Government responsible for the lives of its citizens – like having to negotiate with a third party about the distribution of medicines within the NHS.

The Brexit chief said the protocol is beginning to damage the Good Friday Agreement despite being designed to protect it

The Brexit chief claimed that the protocol is beginning damage to the Good Friday Agreement despite its being designed to protect them

‘That is why we must return to the Protocol and deliver a more robust, and more balanced, outcome than we could in 2019. I hope the EU will in the end join us in that.’

Last month, the UK and EU presented proposals to resolve the dispute over Protocol, which Lord Frost negotiated.

The Policy Exchange paper, The Northern Ireland Protocol: The Origins Of the Current Crisis, Roderick Warren – provides a chronology and explanation of Brexit negotiations as well as what went wrong in 2017.

It argues that commitments, particularly on the Irish border, in the 2017 joint report were ‘a diplomatic triumph for Ireland and the (European) Commission’ but ‘failing to secure adequate reciprocal concessions was a staggering failure for the UK’.

Mr Crawford asserts that the UK was bound to the joint report and to the flawed February 2018 withdrawal agreement. The November 2018 Withdrawal Agreement was also flawed.

The paper says that led to the fall of Theresa May’s government in 2019 and ‘tied the hands’ of the new Government led by Boris Johnson that year as it renegotiated the terms of Brexit.