The prime minister has acknowledged there are “teething problems” with trade between Britain and Northern Ireland within the wake of the Brexit transition interval coming to an finish.
Britain’s new buying and selling relationship with Brussels got here into impact at 11pm on December 31, following an 11-month Brexit transition interval.
There have been empty cabinets on some grocery store cabinets in Northern Ireland as retailers and companies become familiar with the new rules on importing meals merchandise from Great Britain, in addition to studies of lorries being delayed and refused entry at ports.
Asked concerning the state of affairs throughout an look in entrance of the Liaison Committee of senior MPs, Boris Johnson mentioned: “The state of affairs in Northern Ireland is that trade is flowing easily, as I perceive it.
“And exporters are benefiting from the unfettered entry between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“Yes, I am not going to deny down that there are teething problems, and there are issues that we need to sort out… but the deal has been of great, great assistance to our businesses in smoothing this.”
He later added that the state of affairs was “far better than some people had perhaps expected, things are much smoother” and any issues had been “by and large small, soluble questions which one-by-one we are addressing”.
Any forms was “incredibly light touch, insofar as we have to do any checks at all” and “it is working well”,” the PM claimed.
Speaking at PMQs earlier, Mr Johnson mentioned the UK authorities would have “no hesitation” in appearing if the state of affairs endured, once more referring to the problems as “teething problems”.
He instructed MPs within the Commons that ministers would step in to sort out the issues in the event that they grew to become “disproportionate”.
The PM mentioned he might invoke Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol, the settlement which covers post-Brexit trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
This permits both the UK or EU to “unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures” if its utility causes “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist”.
DUP MP Ian Paisley took problem with the PM’s characterisation of the problems as “teething problems”, telling the Commons that individuals in Northern Ireland had been “screwed over” by the protocol.
He mentioned: “What did we do? What did we do to members on these benches over there to be screwed over by this protocol?
“Ask your hearts, every single one, what did we do? Because what has happened to this protocol – it has ruined trade in Northern Ireland and it is an insult to our intelligence to say it is a teething problem. Tell that to my constituents.”
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the get together’s Westminster chief, mentioned the provision points seen in latest days had been “caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol”.
He expressed issues that supermarkets must confront a “cliff edge” on the finish of March until there may be an extension to a grace interval that has seen EU certification rules relaxed.
Answering an pressing query within the Commons, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove mentioned the issues had been principally “overcome”.
He pledged to work with the British Retail Consortium and different teams to “make sure that we have a sustainable approach for the end of the grace period at the end of March”.
British Retail Consortium director Andrew Opie mentioned the shortages of some gadgets seen in Northern Ireland had largely been remedied.
But he warned there might be renewed difficulties if the grace interval will not be prolonged.
Asked concerning the grace interval, Mr Johnson declined to ensure that it could be renewed.
He added: “What I can definitely assure is that if there are severe issues in… supplying supermarkets in Northern Ireland due to some piece of forms that is misapplied, then we’ll merely train Article 16 of the protocol.
“It is absurd that there must be such difficulties.”