Boris to Use Ukraine War as Excuse to Avoid Standing Up to EU on Northern Ireland

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 24: Conservative MP Boris Johnson delivers his speech
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Britain’s Conservative Party government has indicated that they will not take action to prevent the European Union from interfering with Northern Ireland while the Ukraine crisis rages on.

Northern Ireland — an integral part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — has been in political limbo since the signing of the Northern Ireland Protocol of Britain’s Brexit deals, which granted the European Union several concessions including document checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and a requirement for goods in Northern Ireland to follow EU rules.

The protocol has been hugely unpopular with Ulster unionists — those in Northern Ireland who wish to remain in the United Kingdom rather than join the Republic of Ireland — as it has divided Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson could trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to pause the arrangements and pave the way for a renegotiated settlement, but government sources have suggested that he is “unlikely” to do so due to the entirely unrelated Russian invasion of Ukraine, supposedly on grounds that resisting EU dominance in the province would increase conflict in Europe.

The optimum time for London to trigger Article 16 would be before Northern Ireland’s regional elections in May, with a British government minister admitting that “the Protocol becomes much more difficult after May’s elections because Jeffrey [Donaldson, the leader of Northern Ireland’s biggest unionist party] may refuse to go back into Stormont [Northern Ireland’s regional government] if it isn’t ripped up entirely”, GB News reports.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has firmly stated that the conflict in Ukraine should not put a “freeze” on triggering Article 16.

Former Brexit minister and Conservative MP Steve Baker also urged the government on Friday to trigger Article 16 “immediately”, saying that it was “risible” to consider any further delay.

Tensions over the Protocol bubbled over in January 2021 when the EU attempted to block coronavirus vaccines from crossing the land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland — despite so-called “hard border” having been deemed unthinkable during Brexit deal negotiations — although they sharply U-turned after an international outcry, including from Dublin.

The Protocol has also contributed to riots in Northern Ireland, with British loyalist community leaders saying that the Irish sea border created by the new Irish Sea border has become a major grievance.

Speaking to Breitbart London, Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group conservative think tank, condemned the government’s decision “to take their eye off the ball on key domestic issues because there is a war in Ukraine, in which we are rightly not involved” as “unacceptable”.

“Media coverage may pull the attention of the public for a short time, but ultimately people are going to have very difficult questions about the cost of living, core goods, border security, and the integrity of this government”, Harris-Quinney said.

“The mistake of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria was to enter into a dream world where the UK government thought its role was to hobnob in Davos and police the world, rather than govern in the interests of the British people”, he continued.

“As the Bow Group warned when it was published, the Northern Irish Protocol was never fit for purpose; it must be renegotiated to suit the needs of the Northern Irish people or Article 16 must be triggered. We call on the government to publicly set a short deadline by which Article 16 will be triggered if progress is not made.

“Boris Johnson needs to be reminded that Northern Ireland is his job, Ukraine isn’t”, Harris-Quinney concluded.

Follow Breitbart London on Facebook: Breitbart London


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.