James Forsyth

Will the EU accept the UK’s Northern Ireland protocol changes?

Will the EU accept the UK's Northern Ireland protocol changes?
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The UK has just revealed a list of the changes it wants to make to the Northern Ireland protocol. These are not minor tweaks. They would, as David Frost said, require ‘significant changes’ to the protocol. Frost says that the UK wants ‘to open discussion on these proposals urgently.’ But it is hard to imagine the EU being keen to renegotiate the protocol. They will point out that the current British Prime Minister signed this agreement and likely repeat their demand that the protocol must be implemented.

So what happens next? The current grace periods run until the end of September so there is unlikely to be an immediate confrontation. But come the end of the summer, the question of whether the UK will unilaterally extend the grace period or invoke Article 16, which allows it to unilaterally discard aspects of the protocol, will rear its head again.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is political editor of The Spectator.

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