Conservative MP Greg Hands told Sky News that the UK is locked in talks with the European Union over improving the way the rules are interpreted by the trading bloc. He also labelled the EU’s current interpretation as “officious” and called for a more pragmatic approach.
Mr Hands said: “We absolutely agree on preserving the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
“But to do that does mean a more pragmatic approach from the European Union in terms of how it interprets the Protocol.”
He added: “We have submitted some very serious proposals to Brussels about how to improve the situation.
“Talks are ongoing, they didn’t get a breakthrough yesterday but nor have they broken down.
“We need to find something that works well for everybody.
“The EU is following a very officious interpretation of a lot of these rules.
“We are looking for a more pragmatic approach.”
Mr Hands also questioned the perceived threat to public health the European Union has been concerned about.
He said: “What is the actual threat to health in the European Union?
“That’s really what the rules are supposed to be there, these sanitary and phytosanitary checks, they’re a big part of the world’s trading system.
“They’re there to protect public health.
“What actually is the threat to public health from sausages being moved from Birmingham to Belfast, to go to Tescos or Sainsburys in Northern Ireland.
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“What is the threat to public health in the European Union?”
Britain voted to leave the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The United Kingdom agreed on a post-Brexit trade agreement with the European Union on Christmas Eve 2020.
Britain’s post-Brexit transition period with the EU ended on December 31, 2020.