Britain cannot justify its refusal to trigger Article 16 in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol. A Brexiteer said that Britain is no longer able to do so.
Ben Habib is a former Brexit Party MEP. He was responding to Lord David Frost’s request that the EU renegotiate the Protocol. This protocol is used to prevent a hard border between Ireland and the UK.
Unionist critics have instead seen a border along the Irish Sea. However, Lord Frost did not invoke Article 16, which would suspend controversial rules.
Last month, Mr Habib saw his attempt to get the Protocol declared illegal by the High Court of Northern Ireland. He warned Lord Frost that if he didn’t recognize the necessity to abandon Protocol, he would be “as guilty as Boris Johnson in the partitioning of the United Kingdom”.
Within minutes of Lord Frost’s speech in the House of Lords’, Mr Habib stated:”On 19 July, the EU released a statement in which it admitted its aim is to use the time afforded by grace periods in the Protocol to ‘allow stakeholders, in particular supermarkets in Northern Ireland, to complete the adjustment of their supply chains’.”
According to Mr Habib, the Protocol established the legal framework for “capture of Northern Ireland”. The shifting supply lines are its practical application.
Habib said: “Grace periods are not helping the UK, they are enabling the EU to progress the dismemberment of the UK.
“Indeed, as Lord Frost so eloquently articulated, supply lines have already significantly shifted and serious economic and societal difficulties have befallen Northern Ireland.
“This fully entitles the UK to invoke Article 16 of the Protocol and thereby suspend parts of it (as distinct from terminating it).
“But for reasons not advanced, he has decided not to do so.”
“If he was remotely serious about saving our union with Northern Ireland, he would have accompanied his new demands with the justified immediate invocation of Article 16. If not now, when?”