THE NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL BILL: CONTEXT AND CONSEQUENCES
6 October 2022
HOW THE GOVERNMENT JUSTIFIES THE BILL In its explanatory memorandum, the stated purpose of the Bill is to provide Ministers with the power to make changes to the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in domestic law which protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and to safeguard peace and stability in Northern Ireland. [...] In the short term the Bill is therefore unlikely to resolve the issues in NI relating to the democratic functioning of the 1998 Agreement, e.g. [...] when the Bill was laid and when it passed the Commons) is an indication that it sees the progress of the Bill as worsening the conditions for the UK-EU relationship. [...] While the actual risks to the Single Market are currently low, the approach of dismissing the risks as trivial ignores the firm and clear position taken by the EU from 2016 onwards and the fact that the risks would increase over time as UK and EU standards diverge. [...] The negotiations over the Protocol are particularly fraught because they both engage the fundamental political issues at the heart of the conflicting visions of unionism and nationalism in NI and thus the relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the EU, while also needing to address highly technical details of management of border processes and cross-border supply chains and requiring both si.