Lisa Nandy on plan to 'strengthen' NI agreement with EU

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Shadow Secretary of State Lisa Nandy has detailed Labour’s plan to strengthen Brexit Britain’s bond with the European Union, saying “we need a prime minister who is serious” about having a relationship with the bloc. Ms Nandy insisted a Labour government would seek to improve on the agreement Boris Johnson struck with the EU last December. The deal has come under intense scrutiny ever since it was implemented, especially because of the controversial protocol regulating Northern Ireland’s relationship with the bloc.

BBC Newsnight host Emily Maitlis asked Ms Nandy: “Will you spell out what you will be doing, what needs to change, or what you would renegotiate as of now?”

The Shadow Foreign Secretary said: “We don’t want to renegotiate. We want to build on what has been agreed. 

“Very little has been agreed because our government took a great deal of it off the table. 

“But first of all, we would seek a veterinary agreement with the European Union that would help to cut down some of the red tape that is causing real problems on the island of Ireland.

“And help to uphold the Good Friday Agreement, which is an article of faith for us.” 

Ms Maitlis chipped in: “Sorry when you say to uphold the Northern Ireland agreement, in terms of the protocol which we’ve now seen extended three times.

“Would you be saying get rid of it, or would you be saying, ‘we just need to do it better and carry on asking people to do the red tape checks but it within it’.

“What would you say?”

Ms Nandy replied: “I mean, as ever with this government, of course you wouldn’t want to start from here.

“But I think with a bit of creativity and goodwill, we could make the protocol work.

“The person who’s doing most of the mind at the moment is the prime minister who negotiated and I spoke to EU partners at the Labour party conference week, they go to all of the political party conferences.

“There is that goodwill on the other side, and we now need a prime minister who’s going to take that seriously.”

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The Northern Ireland protocol is in place to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit

However, Unionists have said the protocol damages trade with other parts of the UK by creating a border in the Irish Sea.

They insist the Government should intervene by using Article 16, a clause in the deal that would allow the UK to temporarily suspend the protocol unilaterally, but the European Union has said there will be “no renegotiation” of the protocol.

Labour calls for the UK and EU to reach a veterinary agreement in order to solve problems with the deal.

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