To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what his plans are for the future of the Northern Ireland protocol; and what steps he is taking to consult unionist communities in Northern Ireland on those plans.
19 April 2021
The Northern Ireland Protocol was designed to protect the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions and the gains of the peace process; prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland; and safeguard Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom. For the Protocol to succeed, it must command the enduring support of all communities.
The Government has provided a proposed work programme to the EU as the first step in working jointly to make progress across the full range of issues identified. Our priority is now to move those discussions forward, address concerns, and ensure the Protocol is given effect in the pragmatic and proportionate way intended.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I continue to meet with community leaders to ensure that the views of people in Northern Ireland are heard throughout this process. Following an informal meeting between Maroš Šefčovič and Lord Frost on 15 April, the priority to engage jointly with the UK, with businesses and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland was reiterated, with meetings to be organised within the next fortnight.