Northern Ireland

Priti Patel: Government ‘needs to act’ over EU control in Northern Ireland

Dame Priti Patel argued the government needs to act over trade barriers in the Irish Sea (PA)
Dame Priti Patel argued the government needs to act over trade barriers in the Irish Sea (PA) Dame Priti Patel argued the government needs to act over trade barriers in the Irish Sea (PA)

The UK Government needs to act to over the “tentacles of EU control over Northern Ireland”, former Home Secretary Dame Priti Patel has said.

As the Government remains in long-running talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) over unionist concerns around post-Brexit trading arrangements, Dame Priti said she voted against the Windsor Framework because it “posed a risk to the integrity of our United Kingdom”.

The DUP is refusing to re-enter a devolved government in Northern Ireland until unionist concerns are addressed.

On Tuesday, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris indicated the talks with Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s party were in their “final, final stages”.

Cabinet reshuffle
Cabinet reshuffle Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris (PA)

Writing for the Unionist Voice website, Dame Priti said while both the UK Government and the EU “have so far shown little interest in reopening the Windsor Framework”, she said “the economic pressures of friction to trade and the political need to get the Northern Ireland Assembly up and running again should move this up their list of priorities”.

“Government satisfaction with the limited progress the Windsor Framework has made should not act as a block to seeking further progress to fully deliver our 2019 manifesto commitment and the promises made to Northern Ireland,” Dame Priti said.

“No business should face a barrier or restriction to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and more work is needed to achieve this outcome.

“Technology, common sense and a dose of good faith should be at the forefront of the solutions needed to remove these barriers and put an end to the tentacles of EU control over Northern Ireland.

“The Government needs to act and the Conservative Party’s manifesto at the next General Election must reaffirm our commitment to Northern Ireland and the importance of securing the integrity of the internal market within the UK.”

Dame Priti served as Home Secretary in former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet between 2019-22.

She is currently a backbench Conservative MP for Witham.