A Tory MP has demanded more details on what the Brexit trade deal means for Northern Ireland with the country still in the single market and subject to EU rules.
John Redwood urged Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove to flesh out further details on the agreement relating to the province this morning.
Britain today published the text of its narrow trade agreement with the European Union just five days before its exit.
The text includes a 1,246-page trade document, as well as agreements on nuclear energy, exchanging classified information, civil nuclear energy and a series of joint declarations.
Tory MP John Redwood (pictured above, in September last year) urged Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove to flesh out further details on the agreement relating to Northern Ireland
The MP for Wokingham tweeted: ‘Will Michael Gove publish the details of his agreement on the Northern Ireland issues?
‘We need a detailed text to see how he thinks it is going to work.’
The province will have to follow single market rules to ensure its border with Ireland remains open, and there will be physical checks on some plant and animal products, but not at the border.
There will also be customs procedures for goods crossing the Irish Sea, as Northern Ireland will have access to the EU customs union while remaining in the UK customs union.
Ulster, one of the provinces in the north of Ireland, will also remain subject to many EU rules overseen by the European Court of Justice.
Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, welcomed the Brexit deal following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Christmas Eve.
She said: ‘We have consistently urged both sides to achieve a deal.
‘We will, of course, examine the details both of the trade deal itself as well as other issues such as security where agreement will be particularly important from the Northern Ireland viewpoint.
Mr Gove pictured arriving at the Whitehall entrance of the Cabinet Office in central London on December 21. Britain today published the text of its narrow trade agreement with the EU
‘Given the Government’s Northern Ireland Protocol, a sensible trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union was always the most favourable outcome for Northern Ireland.
‘Moving forward, we will continue to work to seize the opportunities and address the challenges which arise from the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.’
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill also tweeted on Thursday: ‘We voted against Brexit, it is being foisted upon us against our will. Todays deal will be welcomed across the island.
‘The Good Friday Agreement has been protected, there will be no hardening of the border and protections for the all-island economy are in place.’
However, Steve Aiken, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, warned that the deal should ‘not be spun as a success’.
Arlene Foster (pictured above), the First Minister of Northern Ireland, welcomed the Brexit deal following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Christmas Eve
He said: ‘With over 2000 pages of text to closely examine it will take time to fully understand if there are any, even wider implications for Northern Ireland, but no matter what, this deal at the 11th hour should not be spun as a success.
‘In many ways it is the least worst option and possibly the worst of both worlds for Northern Ireland.
How will the Brexit deal affect Northern Ireland?
- The province will have to follow single market rules to ensure its border with Ireland remains open.
- Customs procedures for goods crossing the Irish Sea, as Northern Ireland will have access to the EU customs union while remaining in the UK customs union.
- There will be physical checks on some plant and animal products, but not at the border.
- Ulster will remain subject to many EU rules overseen by the European Court of Justice.
‘2021 will be a very difficult year and there should be a period of derogation for Northern Ireland for as long as possible included in the deal.’
Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood added: ‘While the deal may seek to mitigate the damage that leaving the European Union will have on people, businesses and communities in Northern Ireland it will not undo the damage of Brexit.
‘This entire Brexit fantasy is a future that people here do not want and did not vote for. A deal is better than no-deal, but the best deal will always remain being at the heart of the European Union.’
Stephen Farry, an Alliance Party MP, also commented: ‘Key considerations for us will include matters beyond just trade, such as data adequacy recognition, justice, policing and security, plus access to the full spectrum of EU programmes.
‘Notwithstanding this deal, Alliance will continue to advocate the closest possible relationship for Northern Ireland with the EU and to seek further flexibilities and mitigations regarding the implementation of the Protocol.’
The ‘Draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ means that, from 11pm on December 31, there will be no tariffs or quotas on the movement of goods originating in either place between the UK and the EU.
The treaty explicitly recognises that trade and investment require conditions for ‘a level playing field for open and fair competition.’
On financial services, which drive the British economy, the two sides simply commit ‘to establish a favourable climate for the development of trade and investment between them’.
The text comprises of many detailed annexes including on rules of origin, fish, the wine trade, medicines, chemicals and security data cooperation.