Blog: London will either secure the Union and secure Brexit or set scene for EU return – Belfast News Letter

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

So Conservative and Unionist leader Rishi Sunak has committed to there being a negotiated settlement on the Northern Ireland protocol before the 25th anniversary of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement.

All well and good if that deal can be sold by the unionist parties to their electorate, ultimately resulting in the restoration of the institutions. With 49% of unionists wanting the protocol scrapped entirely and a further 31% requiring significant changes to the protocol before reviving to the institutions there is not much wriggle room. Surely only the UK command paper proposals as espoused in the NI Protocol Bill will suffice?

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly (an ex soldier who served in NI) recently told the European Scrutiny Committee that any resolution to the protocol “has got to be acceptable to all communities” in NI and unless unionists are “happy” with the outcome “this isn’t going to work”.

In the coming weeks this government will either secure the Union and secure Brexit or the scene will be set for the UK rejoining the EU single market and customs union (in effect if not in name.) And the protocol will be the trojan horse to achieve such an outcome.

The pro EU media in the UK and Ireland have been pushing this idea for quite some time, noting that it would all but remove the Irish Sea border (and not just for NI). If the prime minister settles for a sub-par deal that doesn’t command unionist support then an incoming Labour government will use the protocol and restoration of the NI institutions as reason to align the whole UK worth the EU,

Which raises the question – would the UK not be better in the EU with MEPs rather than under EU rules with no representation (which is also the democratic deficit of the protocol)?

Alan Day, Coagh, Cookstown

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