Sammy Wilson has said the idea of a possible all-Ireland food standards zone post-Brexit would “make sense” for Northern Ireland.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday that he wants talks on an island-wide approach to agriculture and food products, suggesting that agri-food could continue to be regulated on an all-island basis after Brexit, effectively creating a regulatory border down the Irish Sea.
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has already indicated his party is open to discussing the potential move with the PM.
Speaking to the News Letter yesterday evening, DUP Brexit spokesperson Mr Wilson said such an arrangement would represent “sensible co-operation”.
“If there are reasons why standards between NI and the Republic should be aligned after Brexit, that would be up to the NI Assembly to make that decision,” the MP added.
“Where it would make sense to align laws you would do so, but we would introduce the law in NI. We would simply mirror the Brussels rules.
“With the backstop, we had to accept total alignment with the EU and that was decided by Europe, so if they changed their laws on agri-food we would have to do so as well.
“The one thing we have said we will not do is give to Europe the right to make decisions about NI.
“Those decisions will be made either by the Assembly if it is in existence, or by the UK Government.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the House of Commons Brexit Committee yesterday, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said the Northern Ireland agri-food sector could receive extra financial support in the event of a no-deal Brexit.