Sir David Davis comments on triggering Article 16 if an EU deal cannot be renegotiated


As published by The Daily Express:

DAVID DAVIS has urged Boris Johnson to “do the right thing” for Northern Ireland and trigger Article 16 if a deal cannot be renegotiated with the EU.

The former Brexit Secretary argued for Article 16 to be triggered if the European Union does not renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol. David Davis explained it is “better” for Northern Ireland to trigger it. Speaking to LBC, he said: “It’s perfectly sensible, it’s a mechanism they should be willing to use.

“They should go the whole distance to try and get the EU to change and if they can’t, Article 16 is the way out.

“It was designed that way and that’s what they have to do.

“It’s not a great outcome in negotiating terms but it’s better than leaving Northern Ireland in the situation it’s in now.”

He added: “We have to do the right thing by Northern Ireland that’s the first thing.

“Not the right thing by one or other political alliance.”

It comes as uncertainty over post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland is “dampening” investment on the island, Irish politicians have been warned.

However, Brexit did not hit the Republic of Ireland as hard as feared, an Oireachtas committee heard on Wednesday.

The meeting of the Oireachtas committee came as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has overshadowed the ongoing negotiations on the post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.

No breakthrough between the UK and the EU is expected in those talks ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in Northern Ireland.

That uncertainty was pointed to on Wednesday as a significant cause of unease for traders.

Appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on Trade, Enterprise and Employment, one Government official said: “In large measure, Brexit was not the calamitous event that we all feared, and this can be attributed, in no small measure, to the level of preparedness of Irish businesses for the changed trading relationship with the UK in the aftermath of Brexit.”

Anne Coleman-Dunne, from the Irish-UK section in the Department of Enterprise and Trade, speaking around 15 months since the first impacts of Brexit were felt in Ireland, said that “businesses have faced the realities of the new trading relationship”.

“While for many businesses, Brexit is done, this is not the case for those in the agri-food sector and businesses in this sector need to continue preparing for the UK import controls.

Those new import controls had been set to come into effect from the start of the year.

Describing it as a “temporary reprieve”, Ms Coleman-Dunn warned that nonetheless “Brexit has changed forever the trade relationship between the UK and Ireland and the full extent of these changes will only become fully evident over time”.

Already, data from the Central Statistics Office in Ireland has shown significant changes to the trading relationship between the two countries, even as trade between the Republic and Northern Ireland appears to grow.