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Unionism will be tested, but must stand firm | Jim Allister KC MLA


Let me call out the pretence that the current UK/EU talks can resolve the Protocol issues. They can’t, because the key issue is not even on the table, namely, the EU’s sovereignty grab over Northern Ireland.


These talks are only about how the Protocol is implemented, not about reversing our subjection to foreign laws or GB being regarded as a foreign country when it comes to trade with NI.

To understand the Protocol - and I fear some Unionist representatives still don’t - you need to get the full import of at least some of its key provisions:

  • Art 5(3) applies to NI Art 5(2) of EU 952/2013 which is the full customs legislation of EU, including its customs code. This means de facto we are part of the EU’s customs territory and, hence, why GB is treated in trading terms as a third or foreign country and why its goods must be checked. This is what EU 952/2013 means.

  • Art 5(4) imposes on NI all EU law listed in Annex 2 (almost 300 specified foreign EU laws) and Art 13(4) provides for the imposition on NI of new EU law, subjecting us colony-like to laws we don’t make and can’t change. The constitutional ramifications of this are massive - a part of the U.K. is governed by laws made, not in Belfast or London, but in a foreign legislature, namely the European Parliament.

  • Art 12(1) ensures EU law is applied in NI and 12(4) gives express jurisdiction to the ECJ and Art 13(2) applies ECJ jurisprudence. Again, the subjection of NI to foreign jurisdiction.

  • Art 8 applies EU VAT regime to NI, as per Annex 3, meaning the EU, not U.K. VAT taxation framework applies.

  • Art 10 applies EU state aid rules to NI, as per Annex 5, meaning business etc can only be assisted as per EU rules.

Finally, something not often highlighted, Art 5(5) applies Arts 30 & 110 of TFEU which prohibits in NI any customs or taxes on ROI/EU imports, or quantitative restrictions, such as might be necessary to protect local production. Recently the U.K. Government foolishly announced it is to build border infrastructure in NI to protect the EU single market, but, far from there being reciprocity, the Protocol actually prohibits any protection of the NI/UK market from being swamped by sub-standard EU/ROI goods!

So, in all the hype about good mood music in the current talks, remember the issues that matter are not even being addressed. So, any resulting package, no matter how well it is spun, will not restore our position within the United Kingdom.

Yet, unionists are being pressurised to roll over nonetheless. It must not happen, because any acceptance of anything less than the full reversal of the sovereignty grab of the Protocol, means we will never again be a full part of the U.K.

The recent ruling by Colton J could not be clearer. Executive ministers must implement the Protocol. No Unionist worthy of the name can do such. Nor, should anyone be cajoled or coerced out of this principle.

Unionism will shortly be tested. TUV is clear, there can be no equivocation in rejecting Protocol-rule. Like Sinn Fein rule, it is by its very nature destructive of the Union.

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