The greatest source of tensions since Britain completely exited the European bloc post-Brexit has been the Irish Sea border, under the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, which introduced checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea as a compromise measure to dodge a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
Boris Johnson has threatened to take action on the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) if the EU persists in being “very dogmatic” regarding changes to certain what he called “absurd” aspects of the post-Brexit trading arrangements.
As Britain and the European bloc continue negotiations on how to improve the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has triggered post-Brexit trade checks, resulted in disruption at ports and stirred up community tensions in Northern Ireland, Johnson insisted the government was currently working on “sandpapering” the Protocol, as he spoke on BBC NI’s Spotlight programme.
The special edition, A Contested Centenary, is scheduled to be broadcast on Tuesday evening to commemorate the centenary of Northern Ireland and also features Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin, First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.
Addressing some of the concerns about trade disruption caused by post-Brexit trading arrangements, Johnson said in the programme, as quoted by the BBC:
“What we’re doing is removing what I think of as the unnecessary protuberances and barriers that have that grown up, we’re getting the barnacles off the thing and sandpapering it into shape.”
The Prime Minister added that if Brussels stance prevented the UK from making “enough progress” on eliminating absurd issues, like when “you can’t bring in rose bushes with British soil into Northern Ireland”, further steps would be resorted to.