Legislation to rip up parts of Northern Ireland Protocol to be laid within weeks

Legislation to rip up parts of Northern Ireland Protocol to be laid within weeks
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (Victoria Jones/PA)

The British foreign secretary has set out her intention to bring forward legislation within weeks overwriting parts of the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.

The Bill will propose separate “green” and “red” lanes for goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with those destined to stay within Britain freed from EU-level checks.

There will be no crossover between the channels, it is understood, with goods filtering through one or the other, depending on their intended destination.

The legislation is due in the “coming weeks”, before the summer recess.

It had been heavily tipped to have been introduced to Parliament on Tuesday.

Liz Truss told the Commons in England the Bill will put in place the necessary measures to “lessen the burden on east-west trade and to ensure the people of Northern Ireland are able to access the same benefits as the people of Great Britain”.

“The Bill will ensure that goods moving and staying within the UK are freed of unnecessary bureaucracy through our new green channel,” she said.

“This respects Northern Ireland’s place in the UK, in its customs territory, and protects the UK internal market.

“At the same time it ensures that goods destined for the EU undergo the full checks and controls applied under EU law.”

Narrow Water Point and Warrenpoint Port seen from from Flagstaff Viewpoint on the hills outside Newry where the Newry River flows out to Carlingford Lough, the UK and Republic of Ireland share a border through the lough (Liam McBurney/PA)

This will be underpinned by “data-sharing arrangements”, she said.

“It will allow both east-west trade and the EU single market to be protected whilst removing customs paperwork for goods remaining in the United Kingdom,” she added.

Ms Truss went on to say the Bill will remove regulatory barriers to goods made to UK standards being sold in Northern Ireland, with businesses able to choose between meeting UK or EU standards in a new “dual regulatory regime”.

The legislation will also provide the Government with the ability to decide on tax and spend policies across the whole of the UK, she said.

She added: “It will address issues related to governance, bringing the protocol in line with international norms.

“At the same time it will take new measures to protect the EU single market by implementing robust penalties for those who seek to abuse the new system.”

It is understood that the UK would pull the Bill in the event of all of its aims and objectives being met by the EU.

The option of invoking Article 16 will remain on the table.

More details are expected to be set out in the coming weeks.

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