“Northern Ireland exploited”: Sinn Fein boss accuses Johnson of an ego trip

“Northern Ireland instrumentalised”
Sinn Fein boss accuses Johnson of ego tripping

The British prime minister barely survives a vote of no confidence. Since then, Brexit hardliners have been pressuring him to “fix” the Northern Ireland Protocol. Sinn Fein boss accuses Johnson of only serving his political ego with the EU treaty dispute.

The leader of the Northern Ireland Sinn Fein party, Mary Lou McDonald, has accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of using Northern Ireland for his own political purposes. Johnson’s planned unilateral change in the terms of the Brexit treaty on Northern Ireland served to “foster the ego and ambitions of Boris Johnson or one of his would-be successors,” McDonald said on Sky News. The fact that Northern Ireland and Ireland would become a political pawn was “shameful”.

Johnson’s government plans to introduce its planned changes to the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol in Parliament on Monday. The issue has been causing a dispute between the EU and Great Britain for months. McDonald accused the Johnson-led government of violating “international law” by amending the Northern Ireland Protocol. In addition, in Northern Ireland, a large part of MPs and the population support the existing regulation.

The Northern Ireland Protocol has regulated the status of the British province since Britain left the EU almost a year and a half ago. It provides for customs controls on goods exchanged between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Because de facto Northern Ireland is part of the EU internal market and the customs union because of its open border with EU member Ireland. London is now resisting controls in the Irish Sea.

Brexit hardliners put pressure on

Britain’s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis defended the London government’s plans. The Northern Ireland protocol will disrupt trade, he told Sky News. In addition, the regulation is rejected by the pro-British Unionists in Northern Ireland. “So it’s right that we fix that,” he said. More important than the protection of the Northern Ireland Protocol is the protection of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland with several thousand deaths.

Johnson narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in Parliament a week ago. Since then, the Prime Minister has reportedly been under considerable pressure from Brexit hardliners in his Conservative Party to change the Northern Ireland Protocol. Lewis declined to comment on the government’s exact proposals. However, it is expected that the government will want to abolish most of the customs controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom provided for in the Brexit treaty. Goods from England, Scotland and Wales could then be delivered to Northern Ireland via a “green channel” without a customs declaration being made in the EU.

Should Britain unilaterally repeal the protocol, a trade war looms with the EU, which opposes changes. Brussels has made it clear that changes to the protocol were a breach of international law.