Brexiteer Kate Hoey pushes those in negotiations a to ditch the protocol. Why do we “actually need the Northern Ireland Protocol?”

BREXITEER Kate Hoey has demanded that the Northern Ireland Protocol be removed from the Brexit deal, and has released a letter requesting that EU leaders justify the benefits of the controversial mechanism on a single sheet of A4 paper. 

Baroness On Twitter, Kate Hoey took aim at the EU, tweeting a letter denouncing the deal and its implications on Northern Ireland. “A short letter of common sense #ditchtheprotocol,” the former Labour MP captioned a photo of the newspaper article authored by John Hoey of Newtonabbey, Belfast. 

The letter claims that the Protocol, which was intended to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, is unnecessary, and that border checks on goods may be done locally and without EU involvement. 

“I would be grateful if any europhiles could explain to me – in no more than one side of A4 – why we actually need the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“I can’t see what real task there is for Revenue and Customs officials – after all, there are no quotas to count nor tariffs to collect.

“And as for the famous sandwich-maker in Strabane who sells her goods in Leterrkenny and Ballybofey, if she happens to use the ‘wrong kind of cooked ham’ for the picky European palette then surely that should be a matter for trading standards in County Donegal to address? “

The Northern Ireland Protocol was established to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement, and it has connected Belfast to the EU single market. The EU has pushed for more controls on products travelling from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland, claiming they are “at risk” of entering EU markets. 

The UK government has maintained that the EU has taken a harsh stance in its interpretation of the Protocol. After the bloc insisted on more restrictions on animal products, a so-called sausage war threatened to erupt. In July, a cease-fire was reached, and the grace period has been extended indefinitely while a more permanent solution to the issue is sought. Unionists say that the Protocol’s flaws extend beyond commerce and that it jeopardises the United Kingdom’s integrity. 

“The protocol will have to go one way or the other,” Ms Hoey remarked on GB News in July. I’m hoping that everyone will see the light. 

“People in this country…in Great Britain who were Leavers will understand this is much more than about Northern Ireland.

“This is about actually the EU wanting to punish us still for leaving their little club.”

The UK government has been aggressively seeking answers to the Protocol, and in July it announced a command paper to renegotiate the agreement. Lord David Frost, the UK’s Brexit Minister, said the UK and EU “cannot go on as we are” and urged for “significant changes.” 

Lord Frost is still in talks with Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice-president, to try to minimise the inconvenience. On a visit to Northern Ireland on Friday, the EU president stated that the Protocol would not be abandoned, but that he hoped for a compromise that would benefit both parties. 

He stated, “I told them, for me, I do not need any political victory here.

“I want to find a solution which would represent win-win – victory for all, first and foremost for the people of Northern Ireland.

“That’s the goal why I came here. That’s my attitude. That’s my approach.”