Statement by Lord Frost on Northern Ireland Protocol on 7th September 2021
The UK government has announced further delays to some Irish Sea border checks
Lord Frost said, “The Government set out in its 21 July Command Paper, ‘Northern Ireland Protocol: the way forward’, proposals to find a new balance in the operation of the Protocol.
"The Government proposed to the EU on 23 July a ‘standstill’ arrangement to maintain the operation of the Protocol on the current basis, and to pause current legal actions, to provide space for discussions on those proposals. The EU announced on 27 July that it was not, at that stage, moving to the next stage of the legal proceedings it started in March. There have since been initial technical talks between the UK and the EU. These will continue in order to determine whether a constructive process can be established for discussing and addressing the issues identified with the Protocol.
"Following on from this, to provide space for potential further discussions, and to give certainty and stability to businesses while any such discussions proceed, the Government will continue to operate the Protocol on the current basis. This includes the grace periods and easements currently in force. Operational and other guidance will be updated to reflect this approach. We will ensure that reasonable notice is provided in the event that these arrangements were to change, to enable businesses and citizens to prepare.”
"The most important comments are Lord Frost's statements that "The government will continue to operate the protocol on the current basis. And "This includes the grace periods and easements currently in force. Operational and other guidance will be updated to reflect this approach."
Effectively there is an indefinite delay to implementing checks on chilled meats, fish and dairy products being imported from GB mainland to NI. It is hoped that the extensions will allow the UK and EU the necessary time to try and negotiate a longer-term settlement, after nine months of issues with the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.