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Drakeford tells PM that abandoning parts of Northern Ireland Protocol would hurt Wales

17 May 2022 3 minute read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Chatham House (CC BY 2.0). Mark Drakeford (right) Picture by Doubledoppler (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The First Minister has written to the Prime Minister urging him not to abandon the Northern Ireland Protocol, as it would also have a knock-on effect on Wales’ economy.

Boris Johnson has threatened to tear up the Northern Ireland protocol, despite warnings from Brussels that it will breach the UK’s international legal obligations and the Bank of England that it would start a trade war during a cost of living crisis.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mark Drakeford said that such a move would “risk material damage to the British economy” and “undermine Britain’s reputation internationally,” and that it was a discussion that all parts of the UK should be part of.

“In relation to Wales specifically, the Welsh Government has a direct interest in anything which affects the way in which goods flow between Great Britain and the island of Ireland, given the strategic importance of our west-facing ports, particularly Holyhead, and on matters which might affect Welsh businesses more widely,” he said.

‘Urge’

Mark Drakeford added in his letter that respecting and safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement had to be the first priority of the discussions about the future of the Protocol, and the “complex and sensitive” issues at stake could “only be resolved through dialogue”.

“It is widely reported that the UK Government is preparing legislation to disapply unilaterally parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol,” he said.

“Acting in this way would, I believe, risk material damage to the British economy and, given that the Protocol is part of a binding international agreement which you negotiated and signed, undermine Britain’s reputation internationally.

“Furthermore, since any action along these lines would affect all parts of the UK there is a clear case for a discussion of all UK governments to consider this matter.

“The Minister for Economy set out the Welsh Government’s position in respect of the Protocol in his letter to the Foreign Secretary of 17 January, and that position remains unchanged.

“I urge you not to take any unilateral action, but to continue dialogue with the EU. In addition, it is essential that the current position is discussed with the Devolved Governments.

“I suggest we agenda an item for a meeting of the IMG on UK-EU relations and would appreciate your response to this thought.”

The Prime Minister spent Monday in meetings with the leaders of Northern Ireland’s main political parties, after the Democratic Unionist Party refused to enter a powersharing agreement with the largest party Sinn Fein while the protocol remains in place.

But Boris Johnson said he wanted to “fix” the protocol rather than scrap it.


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Arwyn
Arwyn
6 months ago

Boris Johnson has no interest in listening to Mark Drakeford’s concerns. This is the head of a party that has stood on a platform of “sovereignty” AKA the “Supremacy of Parliament” at Westminster. He leads an elected dictatorship of the largest minority via FPTP that imposes its ideology on the majority. The UK is democratically dysfunctional. Mark Dakeford needs to accept that the UK is a turd that cannot be polished. The kind of consensus politics he regularly appeals for is not possible in the UK. His own party at a UK level rejected reform to the FPTP system –… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago

Johnson had no idea what he was really signing, when the deal was placed in front of him in Dec 2020. I doubt he even read it. As a result, we will all suffer its consequences and, as usual, Cymru will undoubedly take the biggest hit. We all know what we have to do to stop this abuse and the quicker we do it the better.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

Boris will do what is good for Boris, regardless of what any of the devolved leaders ask of him. Ask all you want, but when the leader of the ” business friendly ” party says ” f**k business ” industry in the 4 countries, not just Cymru, can look out. I doubt Boris will even open the letter, no chance he will read it.

George
George
6 months ago

Is Drakeford trying to set out standards that should be followed while knowing absolutely that they won’t be and, let’s be honest, if anything damage to a devolved nation will just make Boris want to do it more? Basically, is he getting ready for when Michael Gove becomes PM and will have done the pre-work for relationship to work better?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

Naïve Unionist Mark Drakeford must take off his red, white & blue tinted specs and realise that the Tories care not if they damage Wales by scrapping the NI protocol thus reopening the troubles by pandering to those self-hating DUP BritNat bigots, who I might add, received a £1.4 billion bribe to keep the Theresa May & Tories in power, but continually state then & now how they don’t want to be treated differently to the rest of the UK by any boarder being in the Irish sea between them and mainland Britain. Bloody hypocrites. British Unionism personified!

Last edited 6 months ago by Y Cymro
Doctor Trousers
6 months ago

I can’t help but suspect that starting a trade war in the middle of a cost of living crisis is actually exactly what these tory bastards want.
They’ve had two years now of being able to blame covid for the problems caused by brexit.
For Europe to drop some big fat sanctions on the UK now would give the tories carte blanche to keep making life more and more miserable, and now they can blame the EU and their sanctions for the cost of living crisis.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

I think you are correct here. Kwasi Kwarteng, on Sky TV news on Sunday, blamed everything on Eu intransigence, despite being show video of Boris lying about border checks. When asked why the UK is failing to comply with the deal on submitting live data to the EU, he blamed the EU ‘s computer systems, saying they had legal problems with them, all utter lies, and exposed as lies. They just blame the EU and continue to lie.

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