Brandon Lewis tells Stephen Farry to ‘stand up for constituents’
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During a Commons discussion about the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Northern Irish MP for North Down attempted to accuse Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Lewis of attempting to “rewrite history” by stoking “uncertainty and instability” in Northern Ireland. But Mr Lewis hit back furiously at Mr Farry, slapping down the accusation by branding him as caring more about the European Union’s interest than the interests of his own citizens by bowing down to EU demands.
Mr Farry slammed: “This statement is full of bluster and rewriting of history, it creates more uncertainty and instability.
“The government is choosing confrontation rather than adopting the obvious solution on the table which is a comprehensive veterinary agreement.
“The Secretary of State should know that the only legally sustainable way forward to achieve the necessary flexibilities and mitigations is through agreement with the European Union.
“Either within the Protocol or building on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. So does the Secretary of State recognise that achieving that requires trust to be built and sustained? But all the governments’ actions around the Protocol this year have undermined that!”
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Brandon Lewis hit back at Mr Farry for failing his constituents with his obsession over the European Union.
The Northern Ireland Secretary slammed: “He should maybe stand up for his constituents more than he is standing up for the EU at the moment,
“He seems to be forgetting the fact that it is the EU who have said they would work at pace to sought to resolve these issues… 7-months ago!
“It was the EU who sought to trigger Article 16 that caused so many issues for the Unionist community in Northern Ireland.
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“And have not yet come to an agreement on a range of issues that we need to resolve for the people of Northern Ireland.
“I think it is right therefore that we take this opportunity to outline a way we think to move forward in a positive way to rebuild the relationship with the EU.
“And fundamentally resolve the core issues that are detrimentally affective his constituents and people across Northern Ireland.”
The news comes as chief Brexit negotiator Lord Forst has warned the Northern Ireland Protocol “can’t go on” in its current form as he outlined the UK’s plans to drastically change the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
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Speaking in the House of Lords on Wednesday, Lord Frost set out proposals to strike a “new balance” on Northern Ireland with the European Union.
He told the Lords the UK wanted to see the number of changes including removing the governance of the Protocol by EU institutions and the Court of Justice.
Lord Frost said: “We have seen reductions in supermarket product lines, we have seen 200 suppliers decide they would no longer sell to Northern Ireland.
“We have seen difficulties not just on the famous chilled meats issue but on medicines, on pets, on movements of live animals, on seeds, on plants, and on many others.”
He said the problems caused by the Protocol were serious enough that the UK could trigger the legal mechanisms necessary to suspend its implementation.
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