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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Government admission on food shortages

Is the reality of our disastrous Brexit starting to hit home for government ministers? The Independent reports that the international trade secretary, Liz Truss, has admitted Brexit has contributed to shortages on supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland, contradicting her Cabinet colleague Brandon Lewis.

The paper says Truss joined Ireland’s foreign affairs minister, Simon Coveney, in acknowledging the UK’s departure from the EU played a part in the disruption, putting her at odds with Mr Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, who has said disruption caused by coronavirus before Christmas is solely responsible for the shortages of some food products and is "nothing to do with leaving the EU".

Apparently, she told Peston: "We were always clear that we are leaving the single market, we are leaving the customs union, there would be processes to be undertaken":

The Northern Ireland Protocol between the UK and the EU requires health certifications on animal-based food products entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

On Wednesday, Mr Coveney said the Brexit divorce deal agreed with the EU by then-prime minister, Theresa May, would have caused less separation from Northern Ireland from the UK.

"There was an opportunity for a very different kind of Brexit that would have avoided much of the trade disruption that we're now experiencing and people chose not to take that opportunity," he said.

The irony in all this of course is that the English nationalists and unionists who promoted Brexit may well be responsible for Northern Ireland leaving the UK to become part of a united Ireland. It is certainly the case that if one were designing a process to achieve such a result then it would not look dissimilar to the deal Boris Johnson negotiated.
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