Prime Minister: Upsetting protocol in Northern Ireland will not break international treaties

July 4, 2022, 10:28 PM

Boris insisted the Northern Ireland protocol would not break treaties.

Image: Parliament Television


The UK’s overhaul of the Northern Ireland Protocol will not breach international treaties, Boris Johnson has insisted.

Mr Johnson explained that few world leaders have raised the issue of the Northern Ireland protocol with him at recent summits.

It came after Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister was ‘undermining Britain’s moral and political credibility’ in his approach to the issue.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Mr Johnson said: “[Sir Keir] talking about the UK breaking international treaties, actually, I don’t know what he’s talking about there, but [if] he was talking about what we’re doing with respect to the Northern Ireland protocol, so that’s not what’s happening.

“We believe our prior obligation, which I would have thought he was supporting, is for the balance of the Belfast/Good Friday deal, that’s what we support.

“He talks about the UK’s diplomatic ability to win people over. It was very striking in conversations I’ve had with leaders around the world how few, if any, have raised the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol and how much people want to see common sense and not new barriers to trade.

“What the UK is doing is trying to reduce unnecessary barriers to trade and you would have thought they would support that.”

Read more: Prime Minister was aware of concerns over Pincher’s conduct ‘over the years’, Downing Street says

Read more: Boris refuses to rule out calling a snap general election three times

This follows Sir Keir’s earlier remarks, in which he said: “Instead of investing in aid that builds [Commonwealth] Alliance, [Boris has] cut it.

“Instead of upholding the rule of law that should define the Commonwealth, he is reneging on the treaties he signed, undermining Britain’s moral and political credibility when we need our word to inspire confidence.

“My fear is simple: the void we leave behind will soon be filled.

“Not by those who share our values, but by those who seek to destroy them.

“We can’t let this happen in Ukraine. We can’t let this happen anywhere.”

On Monday evening, Sir Keir then presented Labour’s five-point plan to “make Brexit work”.

He said the ‘starting point’ was to ‘settle Northern Ireland protocol’.

The party would eliminate ‘most border controls created by the Conservative Brexit deal’, he said, and implement a ‘new veterinary agreement for agricultural products between the UK and the EU “.

It would also work with businesses to put in place a “better system” allowing low-risk goods to enter Northern Ireland without “unnecessary checks”, he said.

The Labor leader admitted Britain would not be able to ensure ‘totally frictionless trade’ with the EU outside the bloc, but said there were ‘things we can do’ to facilitate the process.

‘Labour would extend this new veterinary agreement across the UK, looking to build on the agreements and mechanisms already in place between the EU and other countries – to the benefit of our exporters in one fell swoop’ , did he declare.