Northern Ireland Protocol: Free market think tank Institute of Economic Affairs welcomes UK government’s draft bill

The British economic think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, has welcomed the UK government’s publication of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

By Philip Bradfield
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 6:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 6:40 pm

The draft legislation is intended to correct flaws in the Northern Ireland Protocol which critics say are damaging the economy and constitution of Northern Ireland and causing political instability.

Victoria Hewson is Head of Regulatory Affairs at the institute, which describes itself as “a free market think tank”.

She said: “The publication of the Bill is a positive and welcome step. As set out in my briefing in May, the EU’s position of no renegotiation and insistence on strict implementation of the Protocol was set to make matters worse for businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland already suffering economic disruptions from partial implementation.

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The free market think tank says the bill is ‘a positive and welcome step’.

“The institutions of the Belfast ‘Good Friday’ Agreement that the Protocol was supposed to protect have collapsed under its provisions.

“The system set out in the Bill is not ripping up the Protocol – key parts of it concerning the Common Travel Area and human rights have been ring fenced and the provisions that will replace the trade sections of the Protocol still represent serious interventions in the supply of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in an effort to protect the EU’s single market.

“There is still significant work to be done to flesh out and operationalise the policy with the powers under the Bill, which emphasizes why whatever is put in place needs to be a durable solution, in the interests of legal certainty and political stability. “The Bill provides for agreed arrangements with the EU to be enacted so it is to be hoped that cooperation will be forthcoming to make this work in the best interests of both parties.”