Harrogate district MPs divided over Northern Ireland Protocol


Last updated Jun 28, 2022
Harrogate MPs Nigel Adams, Andrew Jones and Julian Smith.
Harrogate district MPs (from left) Nigel Adams, Andrew Jones and Julian Smith.

Two of the three Harrogate district Conservative MPs have backed plans for the government to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

A controversial bill passed its first hurdle in Parliament last night by 295 votes to 221.

The plans, which would allow ministers to scrap parts of the protocol, has proved controversial with some MPs, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, who said it was not legal and would “diminish the standing of the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world”.

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, and Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, which includes some rural parts of Harrogate, voted in favour of the bill.

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But former Northern Ireland secretary and Skipton and Ripon MP, Julian Smith, abstained.

Speaking during last night’s debate, Mr Smith said the protocol enjoyed “significant support” among businesses in Northern Ireland, adding:

“We risk toxifying further the discussions we are having with the EU and member states, and we risk prolonging instability for Northern Ireland business, not to mention putting the whole of the UK at risk of trade and tariff reprisals.”

The bill will allow ministers to change parts of the protocol which were agreed as part of post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland in 2019.

Liz Truss, foreign secretary, said the government had no other option but to “fix” problems in the deal.

The government wants to fast-track the bill through the House of Commons before July’s summer recess but it is likely to face opposition in the House of Lords.

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