Colum Eastwood reminds Brandon Lewis of strident ‘there is no Irish sea border’ and ‘NI is uniquely placed to prosper’ from Irish Protocol statements

Colum Eastwood has reminded Brandon Lewis of the British Government’s strident championship of the Irish Protocol.

The SDLP leader accused the Secretary of State of inconsistency on the Brexit-enforced backstop measure.

“‘NI is uniquely placed…to prosper from this deal.’ “That is a direct quote from the Secretary of State last Christmas Eve,” he said.

The Derry MP continued: “Then on New Year’s Day he said: ‘There is no ‘Irish Sea Border’…The government and businesses …are keeping goods flowing freely…between GB and NI.’ But then earlier this month he said that ‘the current arrangements could corrode the link between NI and the rest of the UK.’”

Mr. Eastwood claimed the British Government’s ambivalence over the Protocol was undermining its standing internationally. “This statement is the second attempt in one week that this Government have made to distance themselves from agreements they have negotiated. Why does the Secretary of State think that any other country, or any person in NI, would trust anything that this Government say from this day forward?”

Mr. Lewis said: “The implications and outworkings of the protocol are a frustration and a problem for people across communities, and it would be wrong of us as a Government to not recognise that there are problems with the protocol; the way that it is being implemented on the ground is causing problems for consumers and for businesses. I cannot believe for a moment that the hon. Gentleman would want the Government to sit back and see that continue and see his constituents be detrimentally affected by the way the EU wants this to be implemented.”