Gavin Robinson: Protocol is suffocating delicate balance struck in agreements

DUP East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has urged EU Vice President Maros Sefcovic to accept that rather than protect the Belfast Agreement, the Northern Ireland Protocol is suffocating the delicate Strand Two and Three balance secured in 1998 and successor agreements.

By Gavin Robinson MP

Belfast East

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Mr Robinson said,

“Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is right to withdraw Ministers from North-South structures. At a time when the East West relationship has been ruptured, we must call time. We warned people in July. We gave space. This cannot go on.

For an EU Vice-President to dismiss our warnings as “rhetoric” is belligerent not just to me, but to the Northern Ireland people who are struggling to move products from one part of the United Kingdom to another.

This is not just a unionist problem. To describe it as such is to be mistaken and foolish. Nationalists use Amazon and our supermarkets just the same as unionists.

The Protocol is the problem. It failed to protect the Belfast Agreement and its successors. It has placed a border in the Irish Sea which is damaging our economy to the tune of £850m per year and has undermined the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

I am glad that Maros Sefcovic recognises the problem with our medicine supply chain. 98% of our medicines come from Great Britain but it should not be for Brussels to decide what medicines the people of Northern Ireland can or cannot receive. When we consider the rollout of the vaccine, I would rather depend on our current supply chain than some botched EU rerouting.”

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