Stormont operation is the best way to help businesses in Northern Ireland, MPs hear

Starting assembly at Stormont is the best way to help businesses in Northern Ireland, according to a senior Conservative.

he commented at the Questions to the Northern Ireland office in the House of Commons, where the Secretary of State said “there are many problems for business” and urged MPs to support government bills to address these problems.

The DUP is refusing to form a new power-sharing government in Stormont in protest of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the post-Brexit arrangements negotiated with the European Union.

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Chairman Conservative MP Simon Hoare said: “With so many policies that affect and benefit business, not the best support that politicians of all stripes could give Northern Irish businesses is to get Stormont. come back and run?

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis responded: “We all want Stormont to get back to work.

“I think it is important that all ministers return in full force.

“We now have interim ministers thanks to legislation we recently passed, but being able to see Stormont making spending decisions, getting money out the door, supporting businesses and people in Northern Ireland, I think is the right thing to do. do, yes.”

Elsewhere in the debate, SDLP MP Claire Hannah (South Belfast) said: “The government claims their protocol bill is designed to protect the Good Friday Agreement while being at the center of a derby to tear down its core values, creating regression and polarization.” . which will take years to correct.

“The Secretary of State should know that the Human Rights Act is the cornerstone of the Good Friday Agreement.

“May I ask what legal advice he received and what representations he made to cabinet colleagues regarding the compatibility of the Bill of Rights with the 1998 agreement he is charged with defending?”


Water Point and Port Warrenpoint as seen from Flagstaff Lookout in the hills outside Newry where the Newry River joins Carlingford Lough, UK and Ireland share a border across the lake (Liam McBurney/Pennsylvania)

Mr Lewis responded: “It is important that we implement and protect all aspects of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”

He added: “I am delighted that an honorable lady I know was recently quoted as saying that she does not like the Protocol.

“Business faces many challenges.

“There is no doubt about that.

“So, I hope she will support this bill if she is committed to addressing these very issues.”

DUP leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson said the European Union was threatening to impose a hard border to “punish” Northern Irish businesses.

Sir Geoffrey told the Commons: “The EU has threatened to deny Northern Irish businesses access to their single market and to control this they will have to establish a hard border on the island of Ireland, that is the only consequence of their actions.

“The Secretary agrees with me that such a threat from the EU indicates that they do not want to protect the Good Friday Agreement and peace and stability in Northern Ireland at all, they just want to punish Northern Irish businesses because the UK government wants to protect the domestic market Great Britain?”

Mr Lewis said: “The Honorable Gentleman makes an important point, and rightly so, that we are committed to fulfilling all three provisions of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

“We will never consider any infrastructure, there cannot be a hard border on the island of Ireland, just like there should not be a hard border between east and west, this is a matter of three threads.

“We recognize that the EU’s focus is on their single market… we will ensure that their single market is protected, but we will protect all three tracks of the Good Friday Belfast Agreement.”