Two more illustrations of the dire nature of the Irish Sea border from Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson’s Irish Sea border scandal is becoming increasingly apparent.
Health Minister Robin Swann has confirmed that Northern Ireland will operate under different regulatory rules for drugs and medical devices than the rest of the UK due to the NI protocol.
Jim Allister QC was, as he so often is, one of the first to sound the alarm on the consequences of this arrangement, which will begin next year.
While Mr Swann is correct that “any extension of a grace period would be welcome”, no one should be under any illusions as to the ultimate inadequacy of such an extension.
This would only delay the onset of a completely unacceptable state of affairs, in which there was no longer an unlimited movement of drugs within the NHS.
It is hardly believable that a British Prime Minister agreed to such an arrangement, but this is what Boris Johnson did in 2019.
Meanwhile, four ponies bought by a woman from Co Down for her daughter have been detained in Belfast after arriving from Liverpool, due to gaps in the protocol’s veterinary forms.
It is welcome that a judge ordered their release, but this judgment is ultimately irrelevant either. The case is not the fate of these four ponies, but the disastrous legal concession to the EU that led to their detention.
Edwin Poots is of course correct that the protocol is entirely to blame, but his hope that all parties “work together to remove this imposition” is doomed.
Nationalists will be happy to help with the symptoms of protocol but will never accept the overthrow of their biggest constitutional victory in a century.
Once again, the response of the two main Unionist parties is in the spotlight.
If trade unionists accept North-South ministerial meetings or their departments implement the protocol, London, Dublin and the EU will have good reason to be greatly reassured by unionist pragmatism over unforgivable political betrayal.
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