Former secretary of state for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers has slammed the European Union for its “unreasonable” approach on the customs protocol and said the Government is right to act unilaterally.
Villiers said the government is correct to ensure national unity and that its proposals represent a reasonable compromise with the EU.
“I’m sure negotiations will continue but they’ve been ongoing for months and we’re now seeing serious political instability in Northern Ireland – we have to act,” she told GB News.
“If the EU continues to be rigid in terms of negotiations, then I’m afraid we need to act unilaterally and what I understand of what the Foreign Secretary is going to be bringing forward, that is a reasonable compromise that would deal with many of the issues and problems caused by the protocol but would also ensure that the integrity of the single market is respected.”
She added: “If you actually look at the protocol, it contemplates that it could be replaced, it also has sort of safety valve provisions for the event that there’s political instability or trade diversion – both of those apply here.”
“And also, the protocol was negotiated under Article 50, which according to EU law can only deliver temporary arrangements not permanent ones, so what the government is now proposing to do goes with the grain of what is in the protocol.
“Yes, it does dis-apply aspects of it but we cannot stand by and see parts of our country without a devolved government. We do need to take action to ensure that the integrity of our own single market in our own country is respected.
“I think this is a reasonable way forward in response to the EU’s unreasonable approach to how the protocol has been implemented.”Former secretary of state for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers
Former MEP Ben Habib said the EU wants to “maximally damage” the UK over the protocol.
“The Prime Minister needs to take unilateral action and suspend part or all of the protocol or ditch it.
“He’s got to start acting as if he has taken back control from Brussels and exercise that control in the interests of British people,” he told GB News.
He added: “…you’ll remember the line in Brussels was the price of Brexit will be Northern Ireland. And they’re not interested in something that works.
“They want something that maximally damages the United Kingdom.
“And what could damage the United Kingdom more than actually breaking the union of Northern Ireland and Great Britain so that the UK no longer exists?”