“The imposition of a trade border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland was always likely to cause friction between the UK and the EU. The Northern Ireland Protocol has caused tension and has been costly and disruptive for the Northern Ireland economy. It is high time for a rethink.
“Lord Frost’s proposals, as already set out in the Command Paper in July, are pragmatic and liberalising. He is surely right that long term, a stable solution is required in order to respect the principles of the Belfast Agreement, and it is difficult to see how an arrangement that has been found to effectively repeal provisions of the Act of Union can deliver that.
“It is to be hoped that the UK and EU can reach a constructive solution that protects the interests of businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland in a proportionate way. This need not entail any genuine risks to the integrity of the EU internal market.
“Lord Frost’s references to ‘healthy competition’ are very welcome, as is the acknowledgement that the UK is never going to adopt the same levels of checks and controls required by EU systems because we don’t believe the level of risk requires them. These liberalising measures on international trade are some of the free market opportunities of Brexit.”