The Tories have betrayed Northern Ireland with their Brexit deal : ukpolitics


The Tories have betrayed Northern Ireland with their Brexit deal

Step by step, the Province is moving further away from the rest of the UK

By Kate Hoey

Is it time for the Conservative and Unionist Party to admit that the “and Unionist” no longer applies? Northern Ireland has been abandoned post-Brexit. The Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis, who has repeatedly stated that there is no trade border down the Irish Sea, puts in mind the joke about the Emperor with no clothes. Disappointment among Unionists at the involvement of Michael Gove, once seen as the standard bearer for friends of the Union, is turning to anger. It is apparent that he has not guarded their interests. The constitutional position of Northern Ireland has changed despite not a single citizen having a say.

The 44 per cent of people in Northern Ireland who voted for Brexit voted for the UK to leave as it stated on the ballot paper, not for some of the UK to leave and certainly not to find the Province left to the diktats of Brussels. Even among Remainers, most did not want economic and societal barriers within their own country: the UK. Bluntly, the Northern Ireland Protocol signed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement has shown that, when it suits the Government, Northern Ireland can be sacrificed.

Under Annex 2 of the Protocol, Northern Ireland is bound to over 300 EU directives and regulations which can be changed by the Commission at any time without anyone in Northern Ireland having any say. The only government which will have a right to influence them is the Irish Republic as an EU member. Then we have the dire situation at the ports. There is a major economic barrier in the Irish Sea which each day sees more lorries being held up as they have the wrong documents. Many Britain-based firms are refusing to send goods to Northern Ireland at all because of the paperwork and expense. So it is really becoming a “place apart”.

Then there are the extra rules being exposed every day. At the weekend, it was announced that anyone moving from, say, London to Belfast will have to have a special customs permit before the removal van company can do the job: bringing more than 10,000 euros from London will have to be declared.

Dogs are included on the list of animals that will require a rabies injection before being allowed into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. Given that puppies cannot get these vaccinations until they are 12 weeks old and then cannot travel for 21 days, they can’t be transferred to Northern Ireland until they are at least 15 weeks old. This puts the volunteer puppy-raisers for Guide Dogs in an impossible position because these puppies are normally placed in homes from eight weeks old. A pet passport will be required for all dogs coming into Northern Ireland even if just with their owner is on holiday.

The second hand car market is badly hit. Cars purchased in England by dealers will be liable for tax on the whole price rather than just the profit when sold. Meanwhile, the Ban on live animal exports will not apply to Northern Ireland. Duty free will be allowed when flying from Dublin to London, but not from Belfast to Spain. These are just a few examples of the way, Drip by drip, Northern Ireland is being separated from the rest of the UK. This is happening under a Conservative and Unionist Government.

Many were fearful of a Corbyn-led government, citing his support for the IRA. Yet there is no way he would have dared put through this betrayal. If he had tried, there would have been no louder howls of outrage than from the Tory opposition. Yet a Tory government caved in to an Irish government which in turn was devotedly loyal to the EU. A border between Northern Ireland and a foreign country – the Republic of Ireland – was unthinkable but it was acceptable to put one between the Province and Great Britain.

I would like to think that the Prime Minister did not understand that what he had agreed in 2019 was a betrayal of Northern Ireland’s place in the UK. But he now has to admit he got it wrong. Article 16 of the Protocol says that if it leads “to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the EU or UK may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures”.

Every Tory should ask themselves: what has a law abiding Northern Ireland citizen done to deserve being treated differently to their fellow citizens in the rest of the country? Why did years of terrorist violence against them, and the threats of its return, matter more than voting? Why is the Conservative and Unionist Party only Unionist when it is in Opposition?



Source link

Leave a Reply