The Times, June 10, Lord Trimble
It is wrong to assert that imposition of the Northern Ireland protocol protects the Good Friday agreement (GFA) and President Biden must resist attempts by EU countries to make him believe that it does. As the GFA’s co-negotiator, with John Hume, I understand better than anyone the central principles which enabled it to be sold to a sceptical and reluctant unionist population. I can tell the president, the protocol does not defend the GFA.
Negotiating the GFA was difficult and dangerous to myself and my family. I persevered because I believed it was necessary to bring peace. I supported the GFA because there were guarantees to the unionist population that the Union was safe as long as the majority wanted to stay in the UK and that any change in the status of Northern Ireland would take place only with the consent of its people. Furthermore that any contentious issues in government had to acquire cross-community consent in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The problem is that the protocol subverts the GFA by undermining these guarantees, and it is doing real harm to the economy. Worse, there is now significant trade diversion from Britain to the Irish Republic.
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