The UK Government Loses International Reputation by Gambling on Northern Ireland Protocol

The UK government has threatened to take unilateral action on Northern Ireland Protocol. London will scrap some parts of the post-Brexit deal without permission from Brussels. This action breaches an international treaty and will harm Britain’s reputation.

Britain Risks Ties with Main Partner

The UK government will make a big gamble by reforming the Northern Ireland Protocol. The protocol is the legal instrument that sets rules for trade in Northern Ireland during the post-Brexit era. The UK government has introduced a bill to reform the Northern Ireland Protocol and revive its arrangements. London seeks to preserve peace in Northern Ireland, but it is damaging its international reputation.

The EU is the UK’s largest trade partner, and Britain’s unilateral action will strain ties. The U Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the bill is a bit bureaucratic simplification. Boris Johnson has said the UK government would take action to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland. Such a move will show Britain’s lack of interest in abiding by international treaties it has signed. However, the UK government is determined to avoid troubles in Northern Ireland.

NI Protocol Made Northern Ireland Closer to the EU 

The Northern Ireland Protocol is the post-Brexit regulatory framework between the UK and the EU. But the protocol aligns Northern Ireland close with the EU than the rest of the UK. The unionists in Northern Ireland have argued it should not be treated differently from the rest of the UK. The Democratic Unionist Party has threatened not to join a new executive unless the UK government changes the protocol.

It is a threat to the Good Friday Agreement on which Northern Ireland depends. The agreement, also known as the 1998 agreement, ended decades of troubles in Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement has established a cross-community deal for peace and future management of the country. The unionists and the nationalists should form a power-sharing executive to avoid adjourning the Assembly. However, DUP’s decision is damaging the entire democratic process and causing a crisis in Northern Ireland.

London Wants to Keep Peace in Northern Ireland 

The UK government has urged DUP to join the power-sharing administration as soon as possible. DUP has asked the UK parliament to back the plan to eliminate parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The unionist party has said it will return to power-sharing when the protocol is gone. The DUP leader has warned that the Northern Ireland Protocol and Good Friday Agreement could not exist together.

The UK government will change the protocol to keep peace in Northern Ireland. London wants to solve trade disputes by independent arbitration and not by the European Court of Justice. But the protocol is a part of the Brexit deal, and disturbing it is an assault on an international agreement. The UK government’s decision is reckless to deal with the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally.

Westminster Breaches an International Treaty 

The Northern Ireland Protocol ensures there is no hard border on the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland is within the EU’s single market for goods trade. There are checks and controls on goods transferring between Britain and Northern Ireland. So, there is an invisible sea border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The UK government’s new bill will omit those checks and controls of the Brexit deal, an international treaty. After several years of negotiations, the bill will disapprove some parts of the protocol agreed upon. The bill is an attempt to undo the spirit of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK government’s new account involves several political risks. It can provoke a trade war with the EU, which is a big blow to the UK’s economy. If the EU retaliates, the UK will suffer more economic losses.

London Has Threatened London with Retaliation 

The EU has already said it would retaliate if the UK overrides the Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK government has said the bill will not breach any law and justified the move under international law. The EU has argued that it would not renegotiate the protocol with the UK. The bloc has threatened to respond to unilateral actions with available political tools. London risks hurting its international standing by thwarting an international agreement. Walking away from the protocol will be a move close to the point of no return. The UK government has argued that this is an exceptional situation, so it has introduced the bill. The bill allows London to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol already agreed upon with the EU without Brussel’s permission.

Britain Uses State of Necessity to Breach Brexit 

The UK government has negotiated with the EU officials for several years to get a trade deal. The UK will breach international law by scrapping some parts of the Northern Ireland protocol.

The EU officials have called for the UK to comply with the agreements the parties have negotiated. According to the UN’s International Law Commission, a country can break international law at the state of necessity. It is a situation where ‘the sole means by which a state can safeguard an essential interest from a grave and imminent peril is to sacrifice another state’s interest of lesser importance.’ The UK government has justified using this doctrine for the new trade problems between Britain and Northern Ireland. The EU member states have warned that the move will impact the ties.


The Northern Ireland Protocol regulates trades between Great Britain’s and Ireland’s islands. It removes a hard border on Irish Ireland to avoid the recurrence of the Troubles. However, it has created an invisible wall between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain. It has caused division among politicians in Northern Ireland, so Westminster has decided to rewrite the protocol. With a new bill, Westminster will change the legally-binding protocol unilaterally.

The UK government can damage Britain’s position if it breaches the Northern Ireland Protocol. Many politicians have argued this action will break international law. But, the UK government is using an excuse known as the doctrine of necessity to get around it. Violating international law over Brexit is a big gamble that will weaken Britain’s voice on the international scene.

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