Conservatives Global, 16 August, Rt Hon Sammy Wilson MP
The whole point of the referendum to leave the EU was for the Westminster Parliament to gain back control of law making so that the British government not Brussels could decide what was best for Britain. The Prime Minister has made “take back control” his mantra. However the truth of the matter is, that as it stands, the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) still leaves the EU with a firm grip on important areas of UK economic policy and law making powers.
One of the ways in which this has been achieved is through the NI protocol and is the EU’s Trojan Horse to get its bureaucrats, policies and the influence of the European Court of Justice into the very heart of UK governance. We will never be a sovereign nation whilst this protocol is in place. As a unionist I am appalled at its impact on the integrity of the UK. It moves law making in NI from Westminster to Brussels. It smashes the Act of Union which has the idea of a single UK market at its core, by putting up formidable barriers to trade from NI to GB and GB to NI. This is totally contrary to Article 6 of the Act of Union which states that “subjects are to be on the same footing with respect to trade and treaties with foreign powers”. Finally it breaks the terms of the Belfast Agreement which promises no change in the status of NI without the consent of the people of NI.
Already government departments especially DEFRA and HMRC are taking action to put into practice the terms of the NI protocol including the submission of plans to the EU commission about the building of Border Control Posts at NI ports costing tens of millions of pounds, requiring the erection of tens of thousands square feet of inspection sheds and acres of lorry parks. HMRC are spelling out the costs of export declarations for NI firms selling goods to the rest of the UK – some firms will face bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds per year and explaining the need to run two VAT systems since NI will be part of the EU VAT regime as well as the UK VAT regime. The costs will be enormous and in some cases will call into question whether it is worth doing business in NI. The devastating economic consequences of undermining trade with the GB market which accounts for 65 per cent of NI exports are frightening.
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