Following the Government’s statement on the UK's proposed approach to the Northern Ireland protocol, James Sunderland calls for the UK and EU to work together as equal trading partners to ensure the best outcome for the people of Northern Ireland.
The UK has the ability, the will and the right to invoke article 16, but does my right hon. Friend agree that softer politics is still the way forward, and that working alongside the EU as an equal trading partner rather than an intransigent political hegemony will offer the best outcome for the people of Northern Ireland?
Yes, I hope that the EU will engage in a positive way, because I think that as equal partners and equal sovereign states we are able to conduct a proper negotiation to resolve these core issues. That is in the EU’s interests, because obviously it will ensure that we can deal with its concerns about the single market, but it is also in the wider interest, to ensure that we are protecting not just the Belfast/Good Friday agreement but the sovereign integrity of the UK internal market, which I hope the EU respects as much as we respect its single market.