It is now nine months since July 21 2021 when the UK government issued its Command Paper on the way forward with the Northern Ireland Protocol, and that is a long time for them to ‘stand ready’ to pass UK legislation to protect the EU single market from non-compliant goods.
Children have been conceived and born over those nine months; are we to wait for the expiry of the gestation period of an elephant, twenty-two months, before the government actually does something about it?
At least a public consultation, maybe even the publication of a draft bill?
In a letter of mine that you were kind enough to publish a week later, July 28 2021 (see link below), I asked:
If the UK government is content to announce that “We also stand ready to bring in new legislation to deter anyone in Northern Ireland looking to export to Ireland goods which do not meet EU standards or to evade these enforcement processes” (paragraph 43) and “We are also ready to put in place legislation to provide for penalties for UK traders seeking to place non-compliant goods on the EU market” (paragraph 62), then why not just go ahead and do that?”
That question still stands now, and I am afraid the answer is that Boris Johnson never had any intention of doing it. But if Jacob Rees-Mogg wishes to prove me wrong on that, then let us see a proposal for this legislation included in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday May 10.
Dr DR Cooper, Maidenhead, Berkshire
Essays by the three unionist party leaders:
• Jeffrey Donaldson: If SF win this election, they will demand date for border poll
• Doug Beattie: UUP offering a confident, positive, pro-Union vision