UK-France trade war ‘going to get worse’ as EU tensions rocket over NI Protocol backlash

Micheál Martin discusses Northern Ireland Protocol

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Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said the UK is already “in a trade war with the EU” and blamed French President Emmanuel Macron for using the chaos as political capital for his Presidential campaign next year. In a brutal skewer the North West Leicestershire MP said the Northern Ireland Protocol “is not working” and is being used by EU leaders as a “stick to beat us with”. He also explained how onerous post-Brexit checks are taking place on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the UK despite them making up a very small percentage, before admitted things are going to “get worse before they get better”.

Andrew Bridgen said: “The reality is that we are actually in a trade war with the EU, led by President Macron who seems to see this as political capital for him in his election next May in attacking the UK.

“To put it all into perspective, the trade between the UK and Northern Ireland is 0.0008 percent of 1 percent of the GDP of the single market.

“Yet is attracting 20 percent of all the checks on goods.

“That puts things clearly into perspective that under the Northern Ireland Protocol both sides are to promote frictionless trade between the UK and Northern Ireland.”

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The North West Leicestershire MP added: “Clearly they are not doing that, the Protocol is not working.”

He then warned: “It is being used as a stick to beat us!

“And I’m afraid it is going to get worse before it gets better.

“I think we are going to have to threaten to suspend the Protocol as we can under Article 16 due to disruption of trade within the United Kingdom.”

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The Tory MP’s comments come as tensions soar between the EU and UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Brussels to “get it into their heads” that the UK is “a single country” in a fiery statement amid continued anger at the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The EU has accused the UK of failing to properly implement the terms of the agreement by unilaterally suspending customs checks on some goods.

Johnson has threatened to tear up the Brexit deal and said he would “not hesitate” to invoke Article 16 of the Protocol which would mean suspending the terms of the agreement if the EU failed to change its position.

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Tensions were at breaking point this weekend following reports that President Macron as well as other EU leaders told Boris Johnson that Northern Ireland was “not part of the UK”.

Responding to the allegations, red-faced Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, erupted in rage at the “offensive” and “ignorant” comments and called for “a bit of respect”.

He slammed: “What I can tell you is no-one should be surprised by these reports and it is not just one figure. We have seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it was a somehow different country from the UK. That is not only offensive, it has real-world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland!

“Could you imagine if we talked about Catalonia, the Flemish part of Belgium, one of the Lander in Germany, Northern Italy, Corsica in France as different countries! We need a bit of respect here!”

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