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No need to panic! Truss handed secret weapon in EU talks after major Brexit bombshell

Edwin Poots, Northern Ireland’s Agriculture Minister, ordered a halt from midnight on Wednesday to all post-Brexit checks on goods coming into the region from the rest of the UK. Dublin and some of Mr Poots’s partners in government have accused the move of being unlawful.

The member of the Democratic Unionist Party, which opposes the Northern Ireland protocol, pointed to legal advice that the measures should not have been brought in without approval from the regional government.

Joe Barnes, The Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent, tweeted in response: “Understand the Gov will avoid slapping down the DUP after it ordered GB-NI agri-food checks to be suspended.

“The thinking is operational checks are a matter for the NI Executive, and it actually proves the Gov’s point that there are real problems with the NI Protocol.”

He added: “No doubt message from Liz Truss, who is in isolation with Covid, to Maros Sefcovic will be there that there was no collusion between the Government and DUP on the decision to suspend GB-NI checks.”

The Northern Ireland Protocol was designed to avoid border checks between the territory and Ireland, which is an EU member state.

However, it has caused anger among pro-British unionists, prompting the UK to seek to rewrite the deal it signed up to before Brexit.

Mr Poots told a news conference: “The advice concluded that I can direct the checks to cease in the absence of executive approval.

“I have now issued a formal instruction to halt all checks that were not in place on December 31, 2020 from midnight tonight.”


The Protocol has led to the DUP losing support among voters.

Asked about the DUP’s threats to halt the checks, Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary and Brexit negotiator, said it was a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive to resolve and not for the UK Government to intervene.

Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, also indicated the Government will not involve itself in the DUP decision.

He told ITV’s Peston: “Obviously this is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive, it is something that is within their legal remit.

“Obviously we’ll be looking at the outworkings of that, exactly what the legal advice is they have taken.

“One of the frustrations is, this I have to say, is something we have been saying to the European Union for some time, was the kind of thing that we could see happening.

“It’s exactly the sort of thing we have been warning about, in terms of the stability of the Executive and the decisions the Executive ministers will take in order to ensure that products can move from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in a way that they always have done.”



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