The cancer drug scandal illustrates why the Irish Sea border must go, no ifs no buts

News Letter editorial of Friday May 14 2021:

Friday, 14th May 2021, 7:45 am
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 11:21 am
News Letter editorial

Today the court case taken by Ben Habib and others will begin to be heard in court.

It is joy to see Mr Habib, Kate Hoey, Arlene Foster, Jim Allister QC and Lord Trimble come together to bring the Boris Johnson Irish Sea Border betrayal to court, under the expert legal guidance of the hugely respected former attorney-general, John Larkin QC.

In particular it is heartening to see the leading role of Mr Habib in proceedings, who has established a reputation as a friend of Northern Ireland in its hour of need.

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We wish them well in the legal action to a Northern Ireland Protocol that is a flagrant breach of the Act of Union.

While it is reassuring to hear participants such as Baroness Hoey explain that the case will if need be taken all the way to the Supreme Court, at the same time is will be necessary to proceed politically as if the legal venture will end in failure.

In the meantime, responsibility for challenging the border will fall to the incoming leaders of the two unionist parties.

While Doug Beattie long ago established himself as a vital political voice against outrages such as the pro terror direction of legacy, it was troubling to hear him on radio rule out the Ulster Unionists boycotting North South arrangements.

How can north-south proceed as normal after the prime minister flagrantly jettisoned his own pledges to the DUP conference in 2018 about the utterly unacceptable nature of an Irish Sea border, then for his own selfish gain inflicted such grievous damage on our key relationship, east-west?

And all this, let us never forget, came about due to the threat of Irish terrorism, disgracefully cited by Leo Varadkar, if so much as CCTV was erected at the Irish land frontier.

Our front page story on the new cancer treatment that has been approved for patients in Great Britain but has not been approved for Northern Ireland because of the protocol is the latest illustration why the protocol must go. No ifs, no buts.

Unionists cannot just let Boris Johnson hide behind extensions of grace periods, which merely camouflage his brazen u-turn on Northern Ireland in 2019, a betrayal that has made a mockery of this ruthless man’s claim to be a unionist.

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Alistair Bushe