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​DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has welcomed the Government’s acknowledgement that fundamental change is needed to the Northern Ireland Protocol but warned that future arrangements which sustain a role for the EU in deciding the laws which govern our Province would be equally unacceptable.

Commenting, Mr Wilson said:

‘‘The proposals set out in the Government’s command paper are an important recognition of the serious economic harm and mounting instability created by the Protocol. While we will judge any future agreement against the Seven Tests recently outlined by our Party Leader, I welcome the focus on solutions which reinstate full access to goods from Great Britain for businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland.

The operation of customs and regulatory barriers East-West is continuing to erode Northern Ireland’s economic and constitutional position in the United Kingdom. To compound this, the level of checks is entirely disproportionate to the risks posed to the EU single market. It is imperative that the Government holds fast to the fresh commitments it has made to right these wrongs either through fundamental renegotiation of the Protocol or tangible and lasting unilateral action.

Every day that passes without permanent solutions is seeing further businesses opt to alter their supply chains or stop serving the Northern Ireland market altogether. The clock is very much ticking. With this in mind it is even more reprehensible that Alliance and SDLP representatives continue to act as cheerleaders for the Protocol. They choose to defend the indefensible rather than voicing the concerns of their constituents who are suffering as a result of these arrangements.

It is alarming that Paragraph 71 of today’s command paper stills refers to the need to have EU law applied in Northern Ireland. This would not only be undemocratic, but would inevitably lead to further barriers to domestic trade in the future. Any renegotiation must ultimately deal with the democratic deficit established by the Protocol. The injustice of Northern Ireland having to abide by laws made in a foreign jurisdiction without their input or consent must be scrapped. Mutual enforcement of regulations would do away with the need for EU law to be applied in Northern Ireland this outcome should be pursued moving forward.’’