Lord Moylan says many countries are ‘locked in’ to the EU
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Baron Moylan said the bloc’s latest move was particularly brazen given the huge contribution the UK was making to defending its eastern borders from Russia. The dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol, the mechanism agreed by the UK and the EU to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, has been a key Brexit sticking point.
Unionist critics say the protocol has imposed a border down the Irish Sea, driving a wedge between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Last week the EU launched legal action after the Government’s publication of its Northern Ireland Protocol Bill on 13 June, and is considering new legislation enabling it to take “appropriate measures” to restrict cooperation if the UK does not cooperate with existing dispute settlement procedures.
The move baffled Baron Moylan, formerly Daniel Moylan, who was Mr Johnson’s chief airport adviser when he was Mayor of London.
He told Express.co.uk: “I just think the overall picture is very strange.
“We, Britain, are out there defending the European Union’s eastern border from armed Russian aggression.
“We’re supplying unprecedented amounts of liquid natural gas to Germany and we’re pumping electricity over to France.”
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Baron Moylan added: “We are the fifth largest economy or sixth largest economy in the world. And we’re doing everything possible we can to help the European Union at the most difficult time.
“And at the same time, you have these nutters in Brussels picking fights in a way that threatens peace in Northern Ireland.
“So they just need to get their act together over there in Brussels and actually understand that there’s a bigger picture here.
“It seems like we are either in their club or under their club.
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“The things we do for Europe and then they start sending us speeding tickets in the post.”
Lord Moylan believes what happened next depends on the attitude of the next resident of Downing Street, either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak.
He said: “We need to sort out the leadership of the Conservative Party and the new prime minister, in my view needs to get on with scrapping the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and pushing forward the legislation that would allow them to do that.”
Many in the UK, including some Tories, fear any move to scrap the Protocol would represent a breach of international law – but Baron Moylan brushed aside such concerns.
He explained: “A key part of international law is that we have territorial integrity and our own state and this is undermining the peace process and the welfare of the people of Northern Ireland.”
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney last week accused the UK Government of “misleading people” on the issue, adding: ”UK Gov unilaterally using domestic legislation to dismantle an Int. treaty is not only a breach of int. law & good faith, but will cause huge problems for NI.”
At the time Baron Moylan replied: “I really don’t know who Simon thinks he’s addressing this to. Brussels won’t even acknowledge receipt of the proposals we send them and it’s our bona fides that he’s questioning??”
Confirming its decision to initiate proceedings on Friday, the European Commission, which oversees EU-UK relations, said Britain’s unwillingness to engage in meaningful discussions on the protocol governing those trading arrangements, and the House of Commons’ passage of the Northern Ireland Protocol bill, undermined a spirit of cooperation.
It brings to seven the number of “infringement procedures” the European Commission has launched over what it sees as Britain’s failure to respect Northern Ireland trade aspects of the Brexit divorce deal agreed by both sides.
The procedures could result in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) imposing fines, although this would likely not happen for at least a year. The Commission said it stood ready to launch further procedures to protect the EU single market from British violations of the protocol.
Britain said the EU action was “disappointing”.
A Government spokesman said: “A legal dispute is in nobody’s interest and will not fix the problems facing the people and businesses of Northern Ireland. The EU is left no worse off as a result of the proposals we have made in the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.”
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