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Her Majesty's Government has published a policy paper on the UK internal market. DUP Leader Arlene Foster has welcomed the publication but pressed for more detail.

The First Minister of Northern Ireland and DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA said,

“The objective of strengthening the Union is a welcome foundational principle behind the white paper. The Government made sacrifices last year to protect the EU single market via the Northern Ireland Protocol and this unfortunately put Northern Ireland in a different space to the rest of the United Kingdom.

The commitment to enshrining in legislation unfettered access for Northern Ireland businesses to the whole of the UK market is positive. We now need to find out how the United Kingdom internal market regulations would work in Northern Ireland if they conflicted with the EU regulations which would also apply here. This is of utmost importance given the fact that the rest of the UK is by far Northern Ireland’s biggest market and the new challenges we face.

The paper seeks to mark a balance, protecting our UK internal market while ensuring many of the newly repatriated powers from the EU rightly come back to Northern Ireland and the other devolved regions. This will mean over 150 additional policy areas for Northern Ireland. As powers are repatriated, it is important that this does not give rise to any new internal barriers to trade across the UK. Indeed, it is also important that the Northern Ireland Assembly parties work together to ensure our ability to utilise those additional powers is not blunted because of the EU’s ability to veto.

As we continue through this current process, there is an opportunity to strengthen our economic prospects and the robustness of the UK internal market. We must seize that opportunity, with all parts of the UK working together for the benefit of all our citizens in every part of the Kingdom.”