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Brexit group think tank's alternative puts onus on 'mutual enforcement'


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 Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble

Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble

Owen Paterson

Owen Paterson

Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson

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Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble

A PRO-Brexit think tank has today announced what it claims is a solution to the Irish Sea border problems caused by the Northern Ireland protocol.

The Centre for Brexit Policy's 'Mutual Enforcement' proposal would see the UK and EU agree to recognise each other's standards in goods and services in law.

It says this would mean customs officials would no longer be required to check goods going between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Centre for Brexit Policy is headed by former Tory Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson, with East Antrim DUP MP and staunch Brexiteer Sammy Wilson also among the directors.

Announcing the proposal, backed by former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble, it said: "The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, together with the abuse and misuse of the Good Friday Agreement, has been used as the Trojan horse by which the EU has sought to undermine the UK's attempt to gain back sovereignty. Under Mutual Enforcement, checks only need to take place on exports which cross the border between the EU and UK thus protecting UK sovereignty.

"The disastrous Irish Sea border, which still is not fully implemented, could be abandoned."

The report by the think tank states: "Unlike a customs union or partnership, mutual enforcement does not - of itself - remove customs duties nor does it remove, harmonise or require mutual recognition of standards. It works by inverting the usual approach to customs enforcement."

It goes on to say: "Conversely, in a Mutual Enforcement approach, the obligation to comply with the importing territory's rules and pay duties owed is placed on the exporter as a matter of law of the exporting territory.

"This is the critical ingredient - the border position becomes redundant. Under Mutual Enforcement, the border is no longer the first opportunity to assert jurisdiction because the importing territory has successfully asserted its jurisdiction beyond its border."

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