Unionist Voice Policy Studies has today released a substantive report on the ongoing implementation of the Union-subjugating Protocol, with a foreword by Baroness Kate Hoey.
You can now download the full ‘Vetoing the Protocol’ report HERE
Foreword by Baroness Hoey
This latest report by Unionist Voice Policy Studies is an important contribution to the ongoing campaign against the Protocol, which the Government argued before the Court of Appeal ‘subjugated’ the Acts of Union.
The Government appear to at times fundamentally misunderstand the fundamental issue with the Protocol, hence their focus is primarily upon resolving albeit outrageous bureaucratic barriers to trade, without ever really confronting the salient point.
Northern Ireland being left in the single market, whilst the rest of the UK is outside of it, is- and always will be- incompatible with the foundational constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom, set forth in the Acts of Union 1800. It follows that save for Northern Ireland being removed from the single market, and restored to an equal footing in matters of trade with GB, then there has been fundamental constitutional change. I urge the Government to grapple with that issue.
This report sets out a clear pathway for using political and legal action to impede and thwart the Protocol. That is to be welcomed, as is the concession by Minister Poots that the implementation of the Protocol will now go to the Executive, and presumably in the absence of authority being granted for continuing with the implementation, then all forms of Protocol implementation will be halted.
It is of course trite to point out that cross community protections remain in existence in the Executive, and therefore unionist Ministers can veto Minister Poots request for the continuation of checks. It is their duty as unionists to do so. That entire process may indeed be viewed as ‘gaming’ the system, but what shouldn’t unionists do so given the manner by which the Belfast Agreement has been used against them, and cross community consent in the Assembly for the key Protocol vote disapplied in order to neutralise unionists.
For my part, I will continue, in partnership with Lord Dodds and other pro Union peers, to bring forward appropriate amendments to relevant legislation to seek to restore the fundamental balance to the Belfast Agreement. I would hope that once the matters return to the Commons, that all those who value the Union will adopt these amendments.
I support the increasingly strategic activism of young (and not so young) people within the pro-Union community, who are coming together in various ways to develop networks and sharing of ideas and intellectual capital for the collective objective of advancing the cause of the Union. I also entirely support the ongoing work to encourage those, especially from working class loyalist communities, to engage in education and to seek entry to professional vocations such as journalism, law and public service. There are very justified concerns that many professional vocations have become dominated by those of a nationalist persuasion, and this positioning of activists is then used to exert influence on those in power.
The work of Unionist Voice Policy Studies is crucial, both as a network for the sharing of pro-Union ideas and for the development of policies, legal arguments and political strategies. I know that fellow peers and MPs have gained much from previous papers published and submitted to House of Lords and Parliamentary committees by this group.
I would urge the Government, and all those with an interest in restoring Northern Ireland’s place as an integral part of the United Kingdom to study this report.
Baroness Kate Hoey is a member of the House of Lords. She was a Labour MP from 1989-2019 and served in Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Home Affairs from 1998-1999 and Minister for Sport from 1999-2001.