A Northern Ireland minister has threatened legal action against the UK and the EU over post-Brexit trade deals.
Edwin Poots, who is running to replace the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster told Stormont that the Northern Ireland protocol “must finally go.”
To ensure that there is no land border between North Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland continues to follow many EU rules, but this means that a new “regulatory” border has been formed between it and Britain.
There has been a grace period since the Brexit deal went into effect earlier this year, but there have always been delays on some goods arriving in stores in Northern Ireland due to controls.
Mr Poots, the country’s agriculture minister, said there were estimates of 15,000 cargo checks per week at ports in the region after the grace periods for the new rules ended.
He said a senior QC has been appointed and “is currently reviewing all aspects of this protocol.”
“At the end of this work, I intend to take legal action against the protocol,” he said.
“I hope the Department of the Economy and the Department of Health, because this has major implications for drugs and medical devices, will join me in taking action against the European Union and the UK government for damage caused. inflicts on all inhabitants of Northern Ireland. “
Mr Poots said he had not “authorized” any new infrastructure to carry out the checks.
“This was imposed by Westminster, paid by Westminster to appease the demands of Dublin and even pro-Protocol parties ie Sinn Fein, SDLP and Green Party and therefore every consumer will feel the pain of this protocol., “he said.
In March, the EU threatened legal action against Britain’s decision to extend the grace periods at the Irish Sea border, which were due to end at the end of March, until October.
The UK has defended its actions, calling the move “temporary and technical measures” that “largely” extend the measures already in place.
At the time, DUP leader in Westminster Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said if supermarkets and those bringing goods through Northern Ireland ports from Britain would be ‘relieved’ of the extension, it did not provide “long-term certainty”.
“The protocol has proven to be impractical,” he added.