A petition launched by First Minister of Northern Ireland and DUP leader, Arlene Foster has surpassed 100,000 signatures, triggering a debate in the House of Commons.
The petition, only launched on Thursday morning, calls for the immediate removal of “any impediment or barrier to unfettered trade” within the UK internal market.
It states: “After just one month, Northern Ireland is suffering real economic and societal difficulties as a consequence of the Northern Ireland Protocol operating and creating new barriers to unfettered trade within the United Kingdom and disrupting supply lines of goods to Northern Ireland.
“The Government should use all the powers it has to move urgently to protect UK trade and to ensure all UK goods and produce can freely flow to and from every part of the United Kingdom.”
A marvellous response to this petition in such a short time. Thank you for caring about Northern Ireland and the Union.Baroness Catharine Hoey
Prime minister Boris Johnson appeared sympathetic to the concerns of the Unionists in Northern Ireland at PMQs on Wednesday, telling MPs: “I utterly share the frustrations… about the way the EU, in particular the EU Commission, temporarily seemed to call to use the Protocol in such a way as to impose a border contrary to the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, contrary to the letter of the Good Friday Agreement.
“We will do everything we need to do, whether legislatively or indeed by invoking Article 16 of the Protocol to ensure there is no barrier down the Irish Sea.”
Despite Mr Johnson’s comments, cold water was poured over the idea by a joint statement later that day between Michael Gove and the EU’s Maroš Šefčovič which reiterated “full commitment” to the “proper implementation of the Protocol”.