Skipton and Ripon Conservative MP Julian Smith has called on the government to negotiate a settlement over the Northern Ireland protocol rather than make changes unilaterally.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to visit Northern Ireland today amid reports that the government is set to introduce legislation that would override part of the Brexit agreement.
The protocol was agreed as part of post-Brexit trading arrangements, but has faced scrutiny following the Northern Ireland Assembly elections on May 5.
Unionist politicians have raised concern about how the measures are working and refused to engage with the assembly, meaning a new administration cannot be formed.
Mr Smith, who was the government’s Northern Ireland secretary from 2019 until 2020, called for ministers to negotiate a settlement.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning:
“The protocol is popular with business.
“There are major technical issues, but business likes the fact that they face both ways to the UK and EU markets.”
He called for both EU and UK government negotiators to come up with a “fudge” over the protocol:
“I think we need the EU and UK negotiators to spend some positive time in a locked room and come up with a deal.
“We need a political deal. We need a fudge.”
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