DUP demands probe into bid to excise Northern Ireland from customs regulations

A thwarted attempt to remove Northern Ireland from British government customs regulations should be investigated thoroughly, the DUP has demanded.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 8:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 10:04 am

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said “lessons need to learned” over how amendments to The Customs (Amendment) (EU Exit Regulations 2022) excised the words “United Kingdom” proposing instead that only “Great Britain” be used.

The government insisted they put forward the amendments claiming they would ensure that trade between Great Britain and Northern Ieland would “continue smoothly”.

The omission of Northern Ireland from what is known as a ‘Statutory Instrument’ (SI) sparked unionist outrage on social media and prompted the DUP on Monday night to alert the government to the proposed change in wording that included only “Great Britain”.

Liz Truss has ordered an investigation into the changing of the wording

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has ordered Whitehall officials to investigate how the wording was allowed to be changed without “proper political scrutiny”.

Mr Wilson said there had been a bid “to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom’s customs territory” which he added “would have been a clear breach of the assurances given by the prime minister to the people of Northern Ireland”.

He said the direct intervention by the foreign secretrary to adjourn the drafting of the amendment was both “significant and welcome”.

The DUP MP said: “Lessons must be learned from this episode and the government should now commit their focus and attention to honouring the clear guarantee they made to the people of Northern Ireland, to protect our place in the UK’s internal market.”

He added that the practical outworking of the protocol has “resulted in Her Majesty’s Treasury removing us for what the minister described to me today as ‘techninal reasons’.

“It is clear the government did not know what it was signing up to and does not know what further damage the protocol will do to the integrity of the UK, that is why the only solution is to get rid of the protocol.”

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie described the original move as “reprehensible by this Tory government” who could never be trusted.