top of page

Protecting the peace and restoring the United Kingdom as a sovereign country | Sir John Redwood MP

The Unionist community in Northern Ireland has been ignored and angered by the actions and words of the European Union. The Northern Ireland Protocol has as its first Article a statement that the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement takes precedence over the Protocol.


  1. This Protocol is without prejudice to the provisions of the 1998 Agreement in respect of the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent, which provides that any change in that status can only be made with the consent of a majority of its people.

  2. This Protocol respects the essential State functions and territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.

  3. This Protocol sets out arrangements necessary to address the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, to maintain the necessary conditions for continued North-South cooperation, to avoid a hard border and to protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions.

The Northern Ireland Protocol

As the extract above confirms, the Protocol states that the constitutional status of Northern Ireland is to be upheld and all has to proceed based on the principle of consent. The hard-won peace in 1998 established Stormont as a devolved Assembly where all decisions were to be agreed between the two main communities, Republican and Unionist.

With its Protocol, the EU has broken the Belfast Agreement’s promise of consent – and of democratic government

The EU’s insistence that all new laws passed by the EU apply to Northern Ireland breaks that promise of consent. Northern Ireland sends no Ministers to the Council to frame the laws and has no MEPs in the Parliament to approve them.

The European Court of Justice is the ultimate authority on how those laws are interpreted and enforced. For this reason, all Unionist parties in Northern Ireland refuse to return to Stormont to govern in agreement with their Republican colleagues.

This is fundamentally about sovereignty, not trade

The EU wishes to portray this dispute and the rest of Brexit as a matter of trade when it is primarily a matter of who governs.

There are various ways of smoothing the passage of goods between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that does not require EU laws to apply to Northern Ireland and does not end up in the European Court of Justice.

It is the EU’s refusal to explore such options that have left this issue unresolved for so long. The EU should return to the negotiating table willing to accept Article 1 of the Protocol and the Articles of the Good Friday Agreement and to see if they are incompatible with Northern Ireland having to accept EU law and the EU Court.

Neither is this about ‘hard border’ controls

The UK and the EU have both said they do not want new physical border controls. There is no need for them. The EU now seems to want to walk away from this promise, by proposing new border posts and controls between GB and Northern Ireland, whilst respecting the wish not to have such further controls between NI and the Republic. It is neither sensible nor fair to suggest creating a complex internal border within the UK to avoid one with the EU.

The UK would happily make it an offence to seek to send unwanted or non-compliant goods to the Republic from Northern Ireland and would use full state powers to enforce against smuggling. Checks needed on GB to NI trade can as now take place at the premises of the company despatching the goods from GB or at the premises of the buyer in NI. All will be covered by the usual standards, enforcement and electronic paperwork that is used to regulate internal trade in GB.

Trusted trader schemes work well. Surely a UK supermarket chain which can send sausages to Liverpool without a border check at the city edge can also be trusted to send the same sausages to Belfast for its store there?

Restoring a government to Northern Ireland and its people

The UK government has said it cannot accept proposals which do not result in the restoration of Stormont. As Unionists have made clear, it will require a sensible fix on trade issues which end the idea that Northern Ireland is governed by EU laws and is still under some influence or jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

The EU/UK trade agreement has reference to an independent arbitrator for disputes, not to the ECJ. That is what is needed as a long-stop in issues of UK to EU trade across the invisible Northern Irish border. People in Northern Ireland will follow EU rules and requirements for anything they export to the Republic as all countries selling into the EU need to do, but not for the rest of their business activity.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister tells us there is no deal yet that tackles the democratic deficit as well as the trade issues though progress has been made in talks. The only deal that can work is one which satisfies both communities in Northern Ireland, restoring the need for consent that is the essence of the Good Friday Agreement.

The world looks on wanting power sharing to be restarted. The Protocol was a temporary Agreement to defer sorting out trade and governance issues to allow UK withdrawal from the EU. Trade for Northern Ireland as part of the UK with the EU was meant to have been settled as part of the general EU/UK Free Trade Agreement, which is where it belongs.

It is worrying that six years on from the Brexit vote the EU still wants to pass laws for a part of the UK and wishes us to impose border controls between one part of our country and another.

(With thanks to and Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB UK). Parts of the above were included in an article by him for the Telegraph online)

1 comentario


Sir John Redwood MP states: "This (Protocol NIP) is fundamentally about sovereignty, not trade...The EU wishes to portray this dispute and the rest of Brexit as a matter of trade when it is primarily a matter of who governs"

My reply: Here! Here! John Redwood MP has, in this short quotation, hit the Protocol nail on the head. Well done, Sir!

Trade agreements act as smoke-screens and red-herrings throughout the Northern Ireland Protocol: THE REAL ISSUE contained in that detested Protocol (NIP) is the attempt to, first, dilute the Sovereignty of the State of Great Britain & Northern Ireland by 'disapplying' Article 6 of the Act of Union.

Then, secondly, if the Unionist and Loyalist people of Ulster (Northern…

Me gusta

Support Centre
for the Union

Help us make a difference


Thank you for supporting Centre for the Union!

bottom of page