Penny Mordaunt hits out at the EU over Northern Ireland
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European Union leaders have been warned the bloc must work with the UK to ease burdens on Northern Ireland rather than “prioritise” the single market. Senior Government Minister Penny Mordaunt informed MPs on Thursday that a “seriously unbalanced” situation is developing in how the Northern Ireland Protocol is operating. The Cabinet Office Minister added the British Government stands “ready” to develop an alternative post-Brexit trading arrangement.
Ms Mordaunt told MPs on Thursday that the EU’s approach to trading arrangements for Northern Ireland and caused issues including “critical medicines being at risk of being discontinued” and companies having “given up” delivering.
She said: “We must respond to people’s concerns and that means the EU working with us to ease the burdens on Northern Ireland, not prioritising the single market.”
Ms Mordaunt added: “A seriously unbalanced situation is developing in the way the Protocol is operating.
“The Protocol can only be sustained for as long as it retains support in Northern Ireland and therefore making it work, you’d think, in everyone’s interest.
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“We need to focus on those shared and stated principles and common ambitions for prosperity and peace.”
Ms Mordaunt added: “As we now need to think creatively, we have to find a new balance.
“We need an approach to implementation that respects the delicate balance between the interests of all communities in Northern Ireland and the economic and cultural links, east and west as well as north and south, and that is the thrust of the motion we’ve been debating.
“The Government is ready to do this and colleagues will not have long to wait.”
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MPs went on to approve a lengthy Commons motion that stated “flexibility” in the application of the Protocol is “in the mutual interests” of both sides.
It comes as Brussels and London were put on notice over fears Brexit tensions in Northern Ireland could spill over into violence.
Reporting from Belfast NBC News’ Matt Bradley said: “Northern Ireland can seem like a zero-sum game.
“What is good for one side is seen as catastrophic for the other.”
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Speaking to Loyalists at a bonfire in Larne he added: “They say they don’t want war. But they are ready for it.”
The bonfire organiser told the NBC reporter: “Well I’m hoping that doesn’t return.
“But if it does return, well then.
“Well, then we are ready to pick up the gun.”
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