It is shocking that UK has again put itself in role of law breaker to sidestep a Northern Ireland Protocol it agreed

News Letter editorial of Wednesday May 19 2021:

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 8:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 10:19 am
News Letter editorial

Once again there is reason to be alarmed by the conduct of the current UK government.

Once again the question arises: did Boris Johnson not know what he agreed in 2019? Or did he know but not care?

This newspaper has reported on the looming scandal of Northern Ireland drugs falling under the EU regulatory orbit.

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When last week we reported that the medicines regulator in London had extended the licence for a drug to be used in treating early stage cancer only in Great Britain, and not in NI, the European Commission said our report was “entirely incorrect”. When our political editor Sam McBride contacted the commission, it failed to explain how it was wrong. The UK regulator said that the commission itself was in the wrong.

Now the UK government is saying that NI will have the same access as the rest of the UK. But how?

Perhaps the government will just ignore what it agreed, as with other aspects of the Protocol While mitigation of the Irish Sea border is of course welcome, it is shocking that the UK has put itself in the position of law breaker.

In any event, London is sporadically reiterating its overall and ultimate commitment to the protocol.

This comes amid other worrying developments. The Bobby Storey saga, and its implications for the rule of law, was bad enough even before Stephen Nolan’s interview yesterday with Matt Parr of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Among other things, Mr Parr revealed that he did not know if the events planning company, seen in uniform on the day in large numbers, were licensed to carry out the role they did at the funeral, he said that they declined to be interviewed, and that he chose not to name them.

Edwin Poots was saying yesterday that he does not plan any actions that will damage Stormont. So be it. But soon he will have to explain how DUP policy has changed, if at all, from Arlene Foster’s approach of tough talk about the protocol amid what looked to pundits like business as normal.

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Alistair Bushe