Jim Allister: It is deluded to think that red and green customs lanes will neuter the Northern Ireland Protocol

Those, including government, who claim green and red customs lanes would remove the offence of the Northern Ireland Protocol are ignoring three critical realities.

By Jim Allister
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 8:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th May 2022, 8:26 pm
Green and red customs lanes confirm in themselves that in moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland you are moving from one customs territory to another — the very essence of the sovereignty-busting Article 5 of the protocol
Green and red customs lanes confirm in themselves that in moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland you are moving from one customs territory to another — the very essence of the sovereignty-busting Article 5 of the protocol

First, green and red customs lanes confirm in themselves that in moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland you are moving from one customs territory to another — the very essence of the sovereignty-busting Article 5 of the protocol.

One could imagine and understand their meaning if there were green and red lanes between England and an independent Scotland, which belonged to the EU, but never so long as Scotland is an integral part of the UK. Likewise, our constitutional integrity necessitates the repudiation of green and red customs lanes.

Their very ameliorations confirm the partitioning of the UK through a border in the Irish Sea.

Jim Allister QC, MLA is leader of Traditional Unionist Voice

The second reality that the green and red customs lane proposal ignores and does not address is the invasive Article 7 of the protocol.

Article 7 is that which applies a huge body of EU law — the EU acquis — directly and irreversibly to Northern Ireland, as articulated in Annex 2 of the protocol to the extent of 300 such EU laws which we can’t change but must implement as a colonised rule taker.

The undemocratic import of Article 7 is breathtaking.

We, a part of the United Kingdom which elects MPs and MLAs are governed in matters of trade and manufacturing of goods and standards by laws we don’t make and can’t change. How any democrat — unionist, nationalist or other — can acquiesce, nay support, such abject subjection to foreign dictatorship is beyond comprehension.

Thirdly, the unacceptable green and red customs lane proposal leaves untouched the monstrous impositions of Articles 8 and 10 of the protocol which retain Northern Ireland under the EU’s VAT regime and severe State Aid rules.

Once more, taxation without representation hallmarks this undemocratic excess, whereby we are governed not by UK rules and laws, but by foreign diktat.

So, anyone who thinks green and red customs lanes would neuter and deal with the protocol is seriously deluded and does not get the fundamental offence that must be removed — namely, a protocol which annexes us into foreign jurisdiction.

Jim Allister QC MLA is TUV leader

• Other comment articles:

• John Redwood May 20: The government must act soon over Protocol – NI unionists want their country back

• Jim Allister May 17: Boris Johnson flew into NI with weak message on the protocol

• Ruth Dudley Edwards May 17: Thank you Lithuania for pursuing Omagh bomber