According to Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Lord Frost has the authority to bypass Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Article 16 is a protection clause that empowers either party to take unilateral action if the Protocol’s application “leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist.”
When the EU tried to prohibit the sale of COVID-19 vaccinations to Northern Ireland in January, trust was severely harmed.
The decision was overturned, but the EU’s willingness to utilise its “Article 16” emergency procedures to override the Protocol during a health crisis shocked all parties.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith has now stated that he supports the protocol since it can be “redone, renegotiated, and sorted.”
“The protocol to the treaty has already contained in it Article 13, which makes it very clear that it is completely open to both sides to essentially renegotiate elements or all of the protocol such as it may exist and such as it can be improved,” Sir Iain stated on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.
“So the idea that there can be no reopening – it was always clear from the word go.”
“That was the one reason why I was able to support it.”
“I believed that any problems that existed from it could be redone, renegotiated and sorted.”
The introduction of the chilled meat prohibition was given a six-month grace period when the Protocol went into effect at the beginning of this year.
Today, Lord Frost is to enter negotiations today with Brussels to see if a remedy can be found for the NI Protocol. If there isn’t an outcome to this ongoing crisis, Lord Frost has stated Article 16 will be triggered.