Britain is ready if necessary to suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol in order to safeguard the peace process, Brexit Minister Lord Frost has warned.
In a keynote speech in Lisbon, Lord Frost said the protocol, agreed with the EU as part of the UK’s divorce settlement, was not working and that fundamental change was necessary if it was to survive.
He said that the UK was prepared to trigger Article 16 of the protocol — which allows either side to effectively override large parts of the agreement — if that could not be achieved.
“It is this Government, the UK Government, that governs Northern Ireland as it does the rest of the UK,” he said.
“Northern Ireland is not EU territory. It is our responsibility to safeguard peace and prosperity and that may include using Article 16 if necessary.
“We would not go down this route gratuitously or with any particular pleasure, but it is our fundamental responsibility to safeguard peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland and that is why we cannot rest until this situation is addressed.”