Lord Frost ‘doesn’t get it’! Fury as Brexit chief told to stop ‘pussyfooting around’

Northern Ireland: Talks with EU 'unproductive' says Frost

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And former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has said failure to act now risks a constitutional crisis which threatens the very existence of the United Kingdom. Brexiteer Mr Habib was responding to Lord Frost’s call from the EU to amend its stance on the arrangements, which are intended to prevent a hard border between on the island of Ireland – but which critics claim has simply resulted in a border down the Irish Sea instead.

I am afraid ⁦@DavidGHFrost⁩ does not get it

Ben Habib

Speaking yesterday, Mr Frost said he was concerned at the mountain of paperwork required in order to ship goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, ostensibly to ensure they comply with EU standards.

However, Mr Habib, who is co-sponsoring a Judicial Review of the Protocol, launched at the High Court of Northern Ireland in Belfast last week said the problems ran so deep they meant the system which was in place was simply not fit for purpose.

He tweeted: “I am afraid ⁦@DavidGHFrost⁩ does not get it.

“The mere fact he is having to implore the EU to allow parts of the UK to access its other parts should inform him the Protocol breaks our union.

“Stop pussyfooting around. Ditch the Protocol.”

Mr Habib is a persistent critic of the Protocol, and believes its very existence is a repudiation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claim to have “got Brexit done”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk last week prior to the start of the court case, he said: “I cannot see how we could lose.

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“Consider the following: the Prime Minister has repeatedly said the Protocol avoids a so-called hard border on the island of Ireland, for which read a customs border.

“At the same time he claims the Protocol does not put a border down the Irish Sea and that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK’s customs union.

“So, for the same arrangements which amount to a hard border on the island of Ireland, they amount to no border at all in the Irish Sea.”

He added: “For these claims to stack up he would have to be a constitutional alchemist.

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“He would also have to have done away with all borders on our Western flank.”

In his op-ed in the Mail on Sunday, Lord Frost said: “There is no evidence that goods not meeting EU standards are getting into the EU’s single market via Northern Ireland.

“All this paperwork and checks – to deal with a risk that does not exist.”

He stressed: “The EU takes a very purist view of all this.

“It seems to want to treat goods moving to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK in the same way as the arrival of a vast Chinese container ship at Rotterdam.

“We did not anticipate this when we agreed the Protocol and it makes no sense.”

The UK today asked the EU for more time to solve the problem of the Irish border, proposing to phase in checks on food from October, while Ireland said the deal needed to be made to work.

Mr Johnson, who has promised there would be unfettered trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, unilaterally extended a grace period on certain checks to minimise supply disruption, a move Brussels claims breaches the Brexit divorce deal.

Now Britain is asking the EU to introduce checks slowly, the BBC has reported.

From October, checks on fresh meat products could begin, extending to dairy products, plants and wine from the end of January 2022.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said the UK wanted solutions to be found rapidly and called on the EU to take a “risk-based approach” to trade with Northern Ireland.

Speaking after a meeting with Mr Johnson, Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheal Martin said: “We were very clear and are very clear that this is an international agreement, commitments have been made and it needs to be worked, and the processes that are in it need to be worked also.”

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