Lord Nigel Dodds applied pressure on the former Brexit minister Lord Frost after asking why “parts of the act of union itself have been impliedly repealed by the protocol”. Lord Frost didn’t quite answer the questions asked.
Lord Dodds asked: “In the protocol court case, which has been taken in Belfast at the moment, the government has argued, astoundingly, that parts of the act of union itself have been impliedly repealed by the protocol, an incredible position for a conservative and unions government to find itself in.”
“Does the government minister accept that as well as the serious economic difficulties and diversion of trade being caused by the protocol?”
“This assertion of constitutional vandalism will out immensely to the serious societal difficulties in Northern Ireland.”
“One expression of which is the almost nightly occurrence of peaceful protests in Northern Ireland, largely on reported, but which reflect a widespread dismay at the on balanced approach to the political impeach process.”
“So the minister talked about solutions kind of indicate a timetable for solutions which reflects the urgency and gravity of the situation.”
Lord Frost returned by saying: “My Lord. So I’m obviously not able to comment on the specifics of litigation while it is ongoing.”
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Mr Frost continued saying: “I would point out that the protocol itself is clear that it is without prejudice and has no effects on the territorial integrity of the UK or the essential state functions of the UK. And that’s a very important element in the protocol.”
With this being said, there is a divergence of power from the UK, where rules are made. While being stated it is part of the UK, Northern Ireland now has its rules partly made in London and Partly made in Brussels. For this to have been able to happen, article 6 of the act of union 1800 had to be removed.
Article 6 of the act of union says: “ARTICLE SIXTH
†The subjects of Great Britain and Ireland shall be on the same footing in respect of trade and navigation, and in all treaties with foreign powers the subjects of Ireland shall have the same privileges as British subject.”
“That it be the Sixth Article of Union, that his Majesty’s subjects of Great Britain and Ireland shall from and after the first day of January one thousand eight hundred and one be entitled to the same privileges and be on the same footing, as to encouragements and bounties on the like articles, being the growth, produce or manufacture of either country respectively, and generally in respect of trade and navigation in all ports and places in the United Kingdom and its dependencies; and that in all treaties made by his Majesty his heirs and successors, with any foreign power, his Majesty’s subjects of Ireland shall have the same privileges and be on the same footing as his Majesty’s subjects of Great Britain.”
With article 6 saying the same privileges and footing is needed between Northern Ireland and Ireland, this is why the UK government removed article 6, so power-sharing of Northern Ireland with the EU can take place.
London is correct to say, “the protocol itself is clear that it is without prejudice and has no effects on the territorial integrity of the UK or the essential state functions of the UK”, but as with anything, words are being used to disguise the new mechanism in place. Lord Frost used the word “Essential state functions of the UK”, meaning the UK’s control in Northern Ireland is at a bare minimum, and that’s why the UK government is finding it hard to find a solution because the sharing of power in Northern Ireland is in play.