The words come from Liz Truss during “Northern Ireland Protocol” which was when she was speaking yesterday in Parliament. The whole of her words can be obtained here. The following few words below make it very clear. The Government is happy to criticise the EU and indeed one of their team, Daniel Hannan did so in tweet a few hours ago “In those 18 months, we saw the EU actually invoke Article 16, making a nonsense of its claim to be solely concerned with an open border. But some commentators will always blame Britain, never Brussels.” However according to the Government website which is based here there is a very clear statement about Article 16
Article 16 is an emergency mechanism in the Protocol that either the UK or the EU can use to introduce temporary safeguard measures to protect its economy and society. This is only if the application of the Protocol leads to “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist”, or to “diversion of trade”. These measures, however, need to be targeted to directly address the problems they are trying to fix.
Northern Ireland’s Unionist political parties, who want the Protocol to be removed or significantly changed, have called to trigger Article 16 since early 2021. They want to use the process to stop checks and controls on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that they see as threatening the Union. These calls were intensified in January 2021, when the EU briefly suggested it might trigger Article 16 to restrict exports of Covid-19 vaccines from the bloc.
So anyway before we go back to some of the words from Liz Truss that indicate the need for changes that have been called by other Ministers they should admit it is because of the incompetence of the Government. Indeed it was this very clear statement from Theresa May following the opening of Parliament
I put a deal before the House that met the requirements of the Good Friday agreement and enabled us not to have a border down the Irish sea or between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Sadly, the Democratic Unionist party and others across the House chose to reject that, but it was an opportunity to have what the right hon. Gentleman wanted.
If the DUP and the Conservative Party had approved the arrangement that she proposed, that the challenge currently affected would not exist. Of course many of us would prefer there to be no Brexit arrangement. However given it now exists it is vital that the Government admits its mistakes and do what Liz Truss is indicating. So here is part of her speech yesterday.
Our preference is to reach a negotiated outcome with the EU; we have worked tirelessly to that end and will continue to do so. I have had six months of negotiations with Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, which follow a year of discussions undertaken by my predecessor. The UK has proposed what we believe to be a comprehensive and reasonable solution to deliver on the objectives of the protocol. This includes a trusted trader scheme to provide the EU with real-time commercial data, giving it confidence that goods intended for Northern Ireland are not entering the EU single market. We are already sharing over 1 million rows of goods movement data with the EU every week.
Our proposed solution would meet both our and the EU’s original objectives for the protocol. It would address the frictions in east-west trade while protecting the EU single market and the Belfast/Good Friday agreement. The challenge is that this solution requires a change in the protocol itself, as its current drafting prevents it from being implemented, but the EU’s mandate does not allow the protocol to be changed. That is why its current proposals are unable to address the fundamental concerns. In fact, it is our assessment that they would go backward from the situation we have today with the standstill.
As the Prime Minister said, our shared objective must be to find a solution that can command the broadest possible cross-community support for years to come and protect the Belfast/Good Friday agreement in all its dimensions. That is why I am announcing our intention to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to make changes in the protocol.
Of course, given that she is aware that they have to work with the EU, they will need to revisit the negotiation which they seem unwilling to do so! They would rather make changes to the protocol without obtaining an agreement from within the EU. They of course have to start by admitting that they failed to do it properly at the beginning and that the protocol that they signed up to was not appropriate. Another option of course would be for the UK to revisit the EU and consider re-joining it. After all at the time nearly half of the voters wanted to remain in the EU and following the last 17 months since we have left, there are many strong arguments for us to revisit the subject!