The Government are engaging in constructive dialogue with the European Union to find solutions to the issues caused by the protocol. We are also proceeding with legislation that aims to fix the practical problems that the protocol has created in Northern Ireland in the event of our being unable to reach our preferred negotiated solution.
The trader support service has helped thousands of businesses in Northern Ireland to navigate the way in which goods move under the protocol. How will this very important service be funded over the next year?
Both the trader support service and the movement assistance scheme provide support to traders moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. By the end of this year we will have spent £340 million helping traders to process 2.3 million customs declarations through the trader support service for trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but we very much hope that we can find a negotiated solution to the protocol issues that will mean we do not have to spend this money in the future.
The Northern Ireland protocol has resulted in the ripping up of the Belfast Agreement and the principle of consent, and the fall of the Assembly. It has also imposed EU law on part of our country, and that law will be imposed by the European Court of Justice. Does the Minister accept that we cannot improve on that and we have to remove it?
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his question. Actually, I think there is a negotiated path where we can completely change how we deal with the protocol, which would mean that it dealt with the issues of governance and trade and all the other practical issues that are causing legitimate concerns to the communities he represents.
Before we come to Prime Minister’s questions, I would like to point out that the British Sign Language interpretation of proceedings is available to watch on parliamentlive.tv.