On Tuesday (8 September 2020), the Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary asked an Urgent Question about the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Northern Ireland Protocol exists to ensure that the progress that the people of Northern Ireland have made in the 22 years since the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement is secured into the future. It is designed to prevent a hard border in Ireland – or even any new checks at the Irish border.
This week started a crucial period in our trade negotiation talks with the EU. I want the Government to succeed and to secure a deal in the national interest, that protects the Good Friday Agreement. Yet, I am concerned that the UK Government seems to be undermining our legal obligations and its own deal.
The people and businesses of Northern Ireland are at the heart of this and they are the ones at risk of paying the price. This is a profoundly worrying moment for them that will shape their livelihoods, their businesses and their futures. It reopens the uncertainty that they hoped had been settled, takes us backwards in negotiations and undermines trust with the European Commission.
The UK Government has said that it is fully committed to implementing the withdrawal agreement and the Northern Ireland protocol. I welcome this commitment. However, in the national interest, I urge the Government to stop the posturing, rediscover its responsibility and secure the deal that it promised to the people of this country.