Lord Frost provides update on Northern Ireland protocol
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Express.co.uk has learnt Lord Frost will meet Scotland’s External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson tomorrow after the Scottish Government claimed UK ministers Brexit strategy was significantly impacting Scotland and its future trade opportunities. This publication understands Lord Frost will also use the meeting to make clear to the SNP-led administration in Edinburgh that they should keep the UK Government involved and informed in all contact with EU institutions.
Whitehall sources said Lord Frost prefers that SNP ministers should have “no direct contact with the EU” without “consultation first”.
SNP-led Scottish Government ministers have previously written to the European Commission and had regular talks with officials in Brussels amid crunch trade talks between Lord Frost and Michel Barnier.
However, Edinburgh is concerned over plans regarding Lord Frost’s plans to renegotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol, which he set out in a Command Paper last month.
SNP ministers will urge Lord Frost to explain what the rationale is behind the UK Government’s new strategy, which has been “risky” and “potentially provocative”.
Lord Frost will meet Angus Robertson tomorrow (Image: Express Newspapers/Getty)
Angus Robertson is the MSP for Edinburgh Central (Image: Getty)
The Protocol, part of the Brexit divorce deal agreed by the UK and Brussels, effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.
This means checks on goods being sent from Great Britain into the single market in some cases could result in prohibitions on certain products that do not comply with EU rules.
Tense negotiations are ongoing to resolve the post-Brexit trading issues between the UK and the EU and both sides discussing the Command Paper on a regular basis.
A UK Government source added: “Lord Frost has been very clear about the current situation which cannot continue.
Scottish Government remains concerned about the Protocol (Image: Getty)
“Significant changes are needed to ensure that the protocol is sustainable for the future.
“We also want to ensure that relations with the devolved nations are as smooth as possible with constructive dialogue.
“However, when it comes to dialogue with European Union institutions, we strongly urge the devolved nations to keep the UK Government informed about the content of dialogue with them especially at this time.”
Lord Frost wrote a letter to the devolved nations earlier this year about the issue where he stressed that he expected the devolved administrations to "support" the UK Government's position on contact with the European Commission and other EU bodies.
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Angus Robertson labels state of the union ‘unfit for purpose’
Mr Robertson said: “This entire issue, which could have significant implications for trade and business in Scotland, is a problem of the UK Government's own making because of their pursuit of a damaging hard Brexit.
"By pursuing that hard Brexit, and refusing to align food standards with the EU, Scottish businesses are again being pitched into a period of huge uncertainty and a potential trade crisis just as the economy starts to recover from the pandemic.
"The UK Government is effectively gambling with our EU trade by trying to renegotiate a deal, agreed by both sides and hailed by the Prime Minister at the time as ‘oven-ready’.
“It is a shambolic situation. And one that is totally unnecessary and self–inflicted.”
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