Brandon Lewis backs Simon Byrne and Irish Protocol as Gregory Campbell calls for removal of both

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Brandon Lewis has backed the Chief Constable Simon Byrne and vowed to continue to try to make the Irish Protocol work after DUP MP Gregory Campbell described both as 'obstacles to progress' in the British House of Commons this afternoon.

The Secretary of State rejected the calls. Mr. Lewis said he is focused on implementing the Protocol in a 'pragmatic and flexible way'.

Equally he said he would continue to support Chief Constable Byrne in his efforts to keep the people of the north safe.

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Mr. Campbell, addressing the Secretary of State remotely, said: "The Secretary of State indicated that there was widespread condemnation of the violence of the past week or so and he is absolutely right. That wasn't always the case but thankfully is the case now.

Brandon Lewis in the British House of Commons today.Brandon Lewis in the British House of Commons today.
Brandon Lewis in the British House of Commons today.

"There are two outstanding problems that need to be resolved of the utmost urgency. One, is the Northern Ireland Protocol which he has alluded to. The other is the position of the Chief Constable. Will he recommit himself to ensuring that these two obstacles to progress can be dealt with in a satisfactory way in order to take us forward peacefully and democratically?"

The minister replied: "I absolutely have a clear focus on the work to move things forward on the Protocol in a pragmatic and flexible way so that it is working and delivering for people in Northern Ireland without hindrance or problem and I know that the Chief Constable himself is very much focused on - his entire focus is on - the safety and security of people in Northern Ireland and I support him in that work."