John Redwood, Conservative MP for Wokingham, believes the proposals show the EU does “accept they have damaged the UK internal market on trade”. The EU has released its plan for the reduction of checks on goods and medicines arriving into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, which have been in place since the UK left the EU in December 2020. The new proposals would remove about 80 percent of spot checks and cut customs paperwork by 50 percent, the EU said.
Mr Redwood wrote on Twitter this morning: “The latest Irish/ Northern Ireland trade figures show that there has been a big diversion of trade to the EU.
“This is a clear violation of the NI Protocol by the EU and shows they made GB/NI trade too difficult to bring this about.
“The EU proposals for the NI Protocol do accept they have damaged the UK internal market on trade, breaking the Agreement.
“They still fail to fix the EU’s wish to control NI and to legislate for it against the wishes of the Unionists.”
Northern Ireland currently faces checks on goods arriving from Britain under the Protocol.
It agreed that Northern Ireland – to prevent border checks – would continue to follow EU rules on product standards. But instead checks would take place upon goods entering Northern Ireland from England, Scotland and Wales.
The latest trade figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal that Brexit has had a significant impact on Irish-British trade since the start of the year.
The value of goods imported from Britain to the Republic of Ireland has decreased by 32 percent compared to last year.
LIVE UPDATES: Brexit LIVE: Furious Frost to lay down law in EU showdown
“We have put a lot of hard work into them to make a tangible change on the ground.”
He also said he was looking forward to “engaging earnestly and intensively” with the UK Government.
On Wednesday, a UK Government spokesman said the next step would be a “rapidly conducted” round of intensive talks with the EU.
“Significant changes which tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol, including governance, must be made if we are to agree a durable settlement which commands support in Northern Ireland,” they said.
Britain’s Brexit Minister Lord Frost claimed the current system was “not working” and that failing to renegotiate would be a “historic misjudgement”.
He said: “We would not go down this road gratuitously or with any particular pleasure.
“Maybe there is a world in which the Protocol could have worked, more sensitively implemented.”
Lord Frost called on Brussels to show “the same ambition and willingness” to resolve the issue.
But he also warned the EU must be ready to agree to “significant change” as it “takes two” to mend the “fractious” UK-EU relationship.
Speaking to the Telegraph, an EU official said that the number of checks would “go down massively” under the new proposals.
They said: “Brussels is going to allow more goods to pass into Northern Ireland without checks in return for having more data to do proper market surveillance.
“The number of checks will go down massively. This is the best way to cut checks, short of a Swiss-style alignment agreement.”
If implemented, the proposed changes would be in defiance of the French government, which internally raised concerns about the move.
French President Emmanuel Macron previously warned that “nothing is negotiable” with regards to the Protocol.
The UK government said it is currently studying the detail of the EU’s proposals.