As we set out in our July command paper, the protocol is not meeting its core objectives as it stands; it is causing considerable disruption to lives and livelihoods. That is why we need to find a new balance through significant changes to the Northern Ireland protocol and we are working intensively to that end.
Given that both the US and the EU have expressed serious concerns and reservations about the current practical arrangement regarding the Northern Ireland protocol, is the Minister not concerned about this protocol that his Prime Minister negotiated as part of his Brexit plan? The deal may have been oven ready, but did someone forget to turn the gas on?
We have tried to operate the protocol in good faith, but the problems are significant and they are growing. The hon. Lady should be concerned about the fact that the Northern Ireland Executive noted that, from January to March, about 20% of all of the European Union’s checks were being conducted in respect of Northern Ireland, even though Northern Ireland’s population is just 0.5% of the EU as a whole. It is unacceptable, and those are the sort of problems on which she ought to focus.