BORIS Says He Will Have No Hesitation Invoking Article 16 If Chaos Continues With Northern Ireland port delays
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a stark warning to Brussels, saying that if the current port chaos problems with trade to Northern Ireland persist, he will have no hesitation in invoking Article 16 of the Brexit protocol, and simply tear up the agreement relating to making checks on goods and vehicles compulsory at the ports.
Article 16 of the post-Brexit trade deal between Great Britain and Northern Ireland contains a clause allowing the UK to ‘rip-up’ the port red tape and bureaucracy if there are “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist”.
Andrew Opie, the director of the British Retail Consortium has pointed out how supermarkets had been badly hit with shortages in fresh foods, due to the port delays where goods coming from the UK mainland must be checked through, saying, “If we do not find a workable solution for retailers in the next couple of months we do face significant disruption in Northern Ireland”.
Mr Johnson told parliament this afternoon (Wednesday 13), “What I can certainly guarantee is that if there are serious problems in victualling or supplying supermarkets in Northern Ireland because of some piece of bureaucracy that’s misapplied then we will simply exercise Article 16 of the protocol. It is absurd that there should be such difficulties”.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP’s Westminster leader, in PMQ’s today, pressed the PM to trigger Article 16 right away, saying, “In my constituency consumers are facing empty supermarket shelves, they can’t get parcels delivered from Great Britain. Small businesses can’t bring in spare parts and raw materials into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, steel importers are facing tariffs, and other problems as a result of the Northern Ireland protocol.”
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