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PM accused of seeking trade war with Brussels by threatening to tear up protocol

By Gavin Cordon
PA Archive

Labour has accused Boris Johnson of seeking to provoke a trade war with Brussels which would only exacerbate Britain’s cost-of-living crisis.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said Government threats to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol have come at “the worst possible time”.

As well as intensifying the economic squeeze, Mr Lammy said it is “wrong, short-sighted and ill-judged” to open up divisions with Britain’s European allies in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Making Brexit work takes statecraft, diligence and graft, not Boris Johnson’s wrecking ball

David Lammy

The Prime Minister has warned the UK could ditch the protocol – which forms part of the UK’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement with the EU – unless Brussels agrees to major changes.

The Government says the requirement for checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in order to keep the border with the Republic open is damaging business and inflaming sectarian tensions.

The EU in turn has warned it will respond with retaliatory measures if the UK acts unilaterally.

Speaking to the centre left Progressive Britain conference, Mr Lammy said the Government should be trying to resolve the crisis, not make it worse.

“Instead of finding practical solutions they are planning a trade war in a cost-of-living crisis,” he said.

The Government says the requirement for checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is damaging business and inflaming sectarian tensions (PA)

“Making Brexit work takes statecraft, diligence and graft, not Boris Johnson’s wrecking ball.

“People in Northern Ireland deserve a responsible Government but instead we have a Prime Minister who can’t be trusted and a Government willing to break international law.

“And this comes at the worst possible time. Europe is facing the most serious security crisis in a generation.

“There is a war on our continent. Millions have fled their homes. Countries have pulled together in support of Ukraine.

“It is wrong, short-sighted and ill-judged to seek divisions with our European allies as we face this common threat.”

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Dive Deeper:
Boris Johnson backs away from Northern Ireland protocol threat ahead of talks
PM will go to Belfast seeking ‘broadest possible support’ from party leaders
Boris Johnson is using Ukraine crisis to launch a British comeback in Europe
UK’s revival of old alliances in eastern Europe and Scandinavia to help deter Russia fuels new tensions with the EU…
Johnson says UK will act if EU refuses to give way over NI Protocol
The PM said agreement is possible if Brussels accepts changes to the protocol.
Kwarteng dismisses ‘irresponsible’ threats of trade war with Brussels
The Business Secretary said the UK will not be deterred from taking action to maintain political stability in Northern Ireland.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Boris Johnson says UK will act if EU refuses to budge on Protocol
His warning comes amid reports ministers could table emergency legislation as early as this week to override the protocol
Boris Johnson: Northern Ireland Protocol stopping us tackling cost-of-living crisis
Prime Minister set to scrap parts of agreement that hamper state aid as he prepares to meet political leaders in…
Get all your news in one place