Evidence Submission: Impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

June 16, 2022

At the beginning of June, we submitted evidence to the follow-up inquiry on the impact of the Protocol carried out by House of Lords Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. This evidence has now been published, and you can find it on the Sub-Committee’s website.

Within this submission, we raised a number of serious concerns we have regarding the undermining and potential dismantling of the Protocol. Specific issues raised include the government’s contravention of its Article 2.1 commitment to no diminution of rights in NI through the passage of the Nationality and Borders Act as well as the Elections Act, despite warnings that the draft legislation would likely be in violation of these obligations.

We also outlined concerns that the UK government seemed determined to follow a deregulation agenda with a lowering of protections and standards that would likely overlap and be at odds with those existing non-diminution commitments under the Protocol. In particular, proposals for a Brexit Freedoms Bill, which seeks to create additional powers to end the supremacy of retained EU law with minimal Parliamentary oversight, has shown no evidence of being rooted in an evaluation of the Art 2.1 impacts.

This evidence was submitted ahead of the UK Government introducing its NI Protocol Bill, which would enable Ministers to unilaterally disapply many articles of the Protocol relating to trade, VAT rules, etc but we did warn of the wider destabilising impacts of such unilateral measures on all other elements of the Protocol and the dangers of breaking the rule of law and international agreements.

We expressed the importance of maintaining the Government’s commitment to no diminution of rights in NI and our concerns that their recent actions demonstrate a commitment to undermining those elements of Protocol, directly pursuing a diminution of rights, and contributing to widespread instability in Northern Ireland and its ongoing relationship with the EU.

Our full submission is available here.

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