Northern Ireland Protocol ‘could in principle work’, says Johnson

Northern Ireland Protocol ‘Could In Principle Work’, Says Johnson
UK prime minister Boris Johnson said the movement of goods was being 'pointlessly interrupted'.
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Ben Hatton, PA Political Staff

The Northern Ireland Protocol “could in principle work”, the British prime minister has said, but it will be a case of “fixing it or ditching it”.

But Boris Johnson did not rule out triggering Article 16, the BBC reported.


Speaking in an interview with BBC News Northern Ireland, Mr Johnson said: “The fundamental problem for us is that it is very difficult to operate in an environment where the EU system can decide when and how many checks can be carried out across the Irish Sea.”

He said: “Goods are being pointlessly interrupted, and it is crazy to have cancer drugs which you can’t move from one part of the UK to another.”

But the BBC also reported that Mr Johnson said: “The protocol could in principle work.”

Narrow Water Point and Warrenpoint Port (Liam McBurney/PA)
Narrow Water Point and Warrenpoint Port (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Johnson added: “It has got enough leeway in the language for it to be applied in a commonsense way without creating too many checks down the Irish Sea.”

And he was quoted as saying it will be a case of “fixing it or ditching” the protocol.

Asked if he planned to trigger Article 16 during the Conservative Party’s conference next week, Mr Johnson replied: “That depends on the response from the EU”.


He told the broadcaster that the he signed up to the protocol because he has an “optimistic view of human nature and thought they (EU) would want to respect the Belfast Good Friday Agreement”.

He added the protocol was framed to operate “free trade east to west just as much as north to south and that was very, very clear, but unfortunately that is not the way it is being operated”.

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