This piece of news that emerged yesterday has reminded many of us that the departure from the EU which is scheduled for 1st January 2021 will place the rest of the UK apart from Northern Ireland and outside of the EU single market. Such a decision needs to be reconsidered as it will have a damaging impact on the UK as it currently exists and it will act as a catalyst for the Scottish nation to consider if leaving the UK would be the most sensible approach for them to take. It is perfectly understandable that Northern Ireland will want to avoid a barrier creation between themselves and the rest of Ireland. However not only will this create these Border Control Posts (BCP) between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, but our economy will be seriously impacted by a great deal more barriers for items travelling between England, Scotland and Wales and the EU which is our largest trade economy as well as Northern Ireland. There are of course many other elements of our experience of being in the EU that we will miss as we leave, but the single market arrangement is something we were not invited to vote about just over four years ago and it seems very sensible for our nation to be given the option to select the best way forward now, given how this will impact our businesses. As the news reports stated
Last week, Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots wrote to his counterpart in Westminster saying that he was not cooperating with a full application until he got more clarity on how BCPs would be used. In a letter to DEFRA Secretary George Eustice, Mr Poots acknowledged there is a legal responsibility to create the BCPs. However, he added: “I am currently unable to present a full application due to the lack of certainty around a number of key areas including the level of checks required.”
My own view is that leaving the EU is not very sensible, but clearly the vote that took place four years ago called for us to do so. It would have made a great deal of sense had the proposal to leave and the criteria for us to do so had then been explored and a second confirmationary referendum had taken place with the option to select elements of our departure. However none of that happened and we now need to try to protect the issues that will have the greatest damage on our nation.