THE controversy over the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol rumbles on post Brexit.
The Government has been forced to act as evidence mounts that the Protocol is destabilising the province and undermining the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
In brief, the new Bill will create two trading channels, one for goods sent from Great Britain to NI and another where goods pass through NI to the EU.
The former will no longer face the customs checks currently experienced by NI businesses, while not affecting the single market in any way.
It will also give us the right to set taxes in NI, while disputes will be settled by an international tribunal, rather than the European Court of Justice.
The legal case for this change is one of “necessity”, for the reason I explained at the start and, of course, for trade.
NI sells more to the rest of the UK than it does to the Republic, EU and the rest of the world combined.
Our moderate legislation is no surprise to the EU, despite its protestations.
The Foreign Secretary has held 28 meetings over 18 months trying to broker a common-sense compromise, but the EU has remained obdurate.
“Nothing is negotiable, everything is applicable,” said Mr Macron, at last year’s G7 summit.
The overreaction from the EU and other vested interests is predictable.
They still haven’t got over the fact we’ve left.
If the Bill passes, it’s hoped the Democratic Unionist Party will provide a Speaker for the new Assembly, meaning it can sit.
It’s important this happens and sectarian tensions are calmed.
Finally, even now, the Government would prefer to settle the current impasse through negotiation rather than legislation.