Brexit news live: Boris Johnson pledges end to NI trade barriers

Today’s daily politics briefing

Boris Johnson has pledged to end trade barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, claiming his government was “sandpapering” the protocol “into shape.”

However, the Irish premier Micheál Martin has said the suggestion that current Brexit arrangements are “tearing the UK apart” is an “overly dramatic” one.

It comes as Mr Johnson prepares to host a round table with representatives of football’s governing bodies on Tuesday, as he promised fans he will do everything possible to give the “ludicrous” European Super League a “straight red”.

Meanwhile, Lord Evans, the head of the committee on standards in public life, has urged the PM to give up the power to decide whether a minister had breached the code and hand responsibility to an independent adviser.


Taoiseach: Protocol ‘not tearing UK apart’

In an interview with BBC NI’s Spotlight programme, Irish premier Micheal Martin insisted the protocol was not tearing the UK apart.

The new trading arrangements have been cited as a factor by behind the recent upsurge of violence in loyalist areas in Northern Ireland – with the DUP attacking the protocol at every opportunity.

“The protocol is not tearing the United Kingdom apart, that’s just an overly dramatic presentation of it in our view,” said Taoiseach Martin.

“It explicitly affirms the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent. So it’s not a danger to the constitutional position of Northern Ireland at all, and was never intended to be.”

<p> Micheal Martin with Boris Johnson in 2020</p>

Micheal Martin with Boris Johnson in 2020

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Adam Forrest20 April 2021 08:40


PM vows action if EU refuses to drop ‘absurd’ parts of protocol

Boris Johnson has vowed to take action on the Northern Ireland protocol if the EU refuses to ditch “absurd” aspects of the post-Brexit trading arrangements.

In an interview with BBC NI’s Spotlight programme, the PM said his government was currently working on “sandpapering” the protocol, which governs Irish Sea trade post-Brexit, to ease trade disruption.

“If we can’t make enough progress and if it looks as though the EU is going to be very, very dogmatic about it and we continue to have absurd situations so you can’t bring in rose bushes with British soil into Northern Ireland, you can’t bring British sausages into Northern Ireland, then frankly I’m going to … we’ll have to take further steps.”

The PM added: “What we’re doing is removing what I think of as the unnecessary protuberances and barriers that have grown up and we’re getting the barnacles off the thing and sandpapering it into shape.”

Johnson has repeatedly warned that he will trigger a mechanism to suspend the protocol if changes to the arrangements cannot be agreed.

Boris Johnson campaigning for local elections


Adam Forrest20 April 2021 08:36


PM vows to block ‘ludicrous’ breakaway league

Boris Johnson will host a round table on Tuesday with representatives of football’s governing bodies, after 12 of the wealthiest clubs in Europe announced highly controversial plans for a breakaway European Super League.

The meeting will include members of the Football Association (FA) as well as fans’ representatives.

Johnson promised fans he will do everything possible to give the “ludicrous” the league a “straight red”.

Writing in The Sun, the prime minister said he was “horrified” at the prospect of the Super League “being cooked up by a small number of clubs”.

Adam Forrest20 April 2021 08:26

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