Brexit: Article 16 must be triggered ‘immediately’ despite war in Ukraine, says Brexiteer

John Penrose issues warning at EU red tape holding back Brexit

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Mr Baker said it was “risible” to postpone the decision until after the Stormont elections in May, according to The Telegraph. It was reported that Boris Johnson is “unlikely” to invoke the safeguard clause in the Northern Ireland Protocol before then due to the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

There are three weeks to go until the pre-election “purdah” period in Northern Ireland begins on March 26, which restricts communication activities in the run-up to the ballots being cast.

This means that if the safeguard close is not invoked before then, it may have to wait until after the elections on May 5.

Mr Baker described the protocol as “unfinished business” between the UK and the EU and said it had “destroyed political confidence, ended power-sharing and caused trade diversion”.

He added: “We must now save the Belfast Agreement and restore power-sharing by doing what is necessary to bring Northern Ireland back into the UK single market.

“That means using the Article 16 safeguards immediately, before the Stormont elections.

“Any suggestion that devolved ‘purdah’ prevents our national government from doing what is in the interests of the whole country is risible.

“Any suggestion that Putin has vetoed action to restore our constitutional settlement is outrageous.

“Brexiteers, rightly, would be shamed into silence if we attempted this ludicrous argument in reverse.”

He said he hoped to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab next week to address the problem.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine should not affect the Government’s ability to tackle the trade difficulties ongoing in Northern Ireland.

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The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed as part of post-Brexit negotiations, stating that Northern Ireland would remain in the EU single market for goods.

Goods can move freely between Northern Ireland and Ireland, but there are customs controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Article 16 was put in as a safeguard which can be triggered in the event that Brexit rules have caused “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties” or a “diversion of trade”.

Unionists in Northern Ireland are not supportive of current trade arrangements as they are “driving a wedge” between Northern Ireland and Britain.

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