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Northern Ireland Protocol Bill: Write a letter to your MP
We have created an easy-to-use resource for our member organisations and wider diaspora to write to their MPs about the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.
The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is a legislative proposal by the UK Government that seeks to unilaterally override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is that part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement that governs some aspects of trade in goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The NI Protocol Bill, introduced by Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss in June 2022, currently sits within the Committee Stage in the House of Commons (as of 7 July).
During Brexit negotiations in October 2019, the European Union (EU) and UK agreed a Northern Ireland Protocol to ensure there would be no new checks on goods crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The protocol aims to:
Support the Good Friday Agreement
avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
make sure of the integrity of the EU’s single market for goods
facilitate unfettered access for goods from Northern Ireland to the market in Britain, and the inclusion of goods from Northern Ireland in free trade agreements between the UK and third countries
Most importantly, the Protocol explicitly supports and protects the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in all its dimensions. It also ensures there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland and fully recognises the constitutional position of Northern Ireland. The Protocol offers Northern Ireland a unique economic opportunity as the only place in the world whose goods continue to have dual access to both the EU Single Market and the rest of the UK Internal Market (over half a billion people in total).
The Protocol was bilaterally ratified in 2020 and some implementation challenges have arisen. The EU recognises these challenges and accepts that the operation of the Protocol can be improved. It has put forward practical solutions to the genuine concerns that have arisen in Northern Ireland. This includes proposals on express lanes for goods from Britain staying in Northern Ireland, as well as simplified customs formalities.
It is deeply worrying that the UK government has now put forward a Bill that, if enacted, would unilaterally disapply the core elements of the Protocol and break international law. The British Government has a clear duty under the Good Friday Agreement to act with impartiality to all communities in Northern Ireland. Its current approach rejects this obligation.
The majority of recently elected NI Assembly members have strongly rejected the UK government’s approach. People and business across Northern Ireland have been clear that they do not support these unilateral actions and want an agreed solution between the EU and UK to provide predictability, stability and continued access to British and EU markets.
Faith can only be fully restored through negotiations with the EU to shape a protocol solution that works in practice; ensuring the people of Northern Ireland are heard and represented through their institutions; and, by fully respecting, and carefully implementing, the legal commitments already made.
The Good Friday Agreement has delivered peace and stability for all the people on the island of Ireland, particularly those living in Northern Ireland. Over the past 24 years, the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement have enabled and supported positive British-Irish relations. They are important cornerstones for peace, which must be protected.
The Irish in Britain
Many of us remember how the Troubles deeply affected - and sometimes poisoned - community relations on these islands. No community outside the island of Ireland has a greater stake in the continued success of the Good Friday Agreement than the Irish community in Britain, for whom it is deeply cherished. As your membership body we have written to Foreign Secretary Truss and the Prime Minister to outline our concerns.
We have created easy-to-use resources for our member organisations and wider diaspora to write to their MPs, particularly in Conservative constituencies. We have a dynamic network of organisations that contribute so much, and the views of our community are important. We hope these may be helpful to ensure your voice is counted.
Go to our resources for a letter/ email you can send to your local MP with recommendations for action. You can also use our interactive map, which illustrates the scope, size and distribution of the Irish community in Britain.
You can download the letter template below as word document HERE.
[YOUR FULL ADDRESS] [YOUR POSTCODE] [DATE]
Dear Honourable [MP NAME] MP,
My names is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent of [YOUR CONSTITUENCY].
I am writing to you today because I am concerned about the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill. The Government’s current approach to the issues present in Stormont threaten the UK’s obligations as guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. As it stands, the proposed bill threatens a trade war between the EU and the UK and most importantly: the leadership, vision and culture of compromise that delivered the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
The UK Government has been aware of the unique political situation Northern Ireland exists in, and the impact that has on its relationship with the Republic of Ireland. The proposed solution does not respect the importance and sensitivity of this relationship, causing great concern to[as a member of your constituency] and/or [person with Irish heritage]. 52 (out of 90) recently elected NI Assembly members have strongly rejected the UK government’s approach. Alongside this, people and businesses across Northern Ireland have been clear that they do not support these unilateral actions and want an agreed solution between the EU and UK to provide stability, respect for people of all communities of these islands, and assurance of continued peace in Northern Ireland.
Over the past 24 years, the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement have enabled and supported positive British-Irish relations, key cornerstones for sustaining peace in Northern Ireland. For the Irish community in Britain the peace dividend has been clear and tangible proof of the power of dialogue, compromise and a shared commitment to peace.
This is something that’s particularly important to me as [EXPLAIN KEY REASONS AND ANY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE INFORMED THIS].
I am asking you to take the following steps to address my concerns:
Correspond with the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, asking her to re-evaluate the proposed solutions and better include Irish representation through their established institutions.
Respect the legal commitments already made in initial Brexit agreement, to maintain a stable relationship with the EU.
Respond to this letter, confirming you’ve acted on the outlined recommendations to give constituents such as myself peace of mind that our voices have been heard.
If you’re unable to address this personally, I would like to request that you escalate my letter to the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP.