Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

MSPs divided over acceptance of UK’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

The Scottish Parliament discussed whether to accept the UK’s proposed legislation (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)
The Scottish Parliament discussed whether to accept the UK’s proposed legislation (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

MSPs are divided over whether to accept the UK Government’s Northern Ireland Protocol legislation, after Conservative MPs came under fire for giving the Bill their backing.

The issue was discussed in Holyrood on Wednesday afternoon after the Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons earlier in the week.

The controversial proposals, which would effectively allow the UK to tear up parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, are considered illegal by the European Union, and dozens of Tory MPs abstained in Monday’s vote, including former prime minister Theresa May.

Angus Robertson, the External Affairs Secretary, said on Wednesday that it is “inconceivable” for the Scottish Government to recommend consent towards the move.

He said: “Without the protocol, it is clear there would not have been a deal at all between the European Union and the UK.

“And so good was that deal, according to Boris Johnson, that when he signed it, he hailed it as a ‘fantastic moment’ and went on to fight a general election on the basis that he had got Brexit done.

“Yet this Bill unilaterally disapplies, or affords the UK Government powers to disapply, the legislation that enforces parts of the protocol in the UK.

“In other words, the UK Government wants to tear up that self-same apparently fantastic deal and renege on the UK Government’s commitment and international obligations.”

Mr Robertson told MSPs that he could not “think of anything more irresponsible” than taking such action amid a cost-of-living crisis “and when the UK is at real risk of entering a recession”.

“It causes business and investor uncertainty, and risks sparking a damaging trade war,” he said.

He urged the UK Government to withdraw the proposed legislation and restart negotiations with the EU “with a view to mutually agreeable, durable solutions”.

But Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said that “simply discussing how we got here is not going to take us forward”, and said the protocol is “simply not working”.

“Rightly or wrongly, regardless of what the intentions were in October 2019, whether we voted for it or not, it is not working,” he said.

At the very least, Mr Cameron said, the proposals in the Bill involving “red” and “green” lanes for importing goods from Britain to Northern Ireland are “worth considering”.

“The green lane in particular should assist on the GB side, especially in Scotland, when goods are exported to Northern Ireland.

“That may be beneficial to Scottish businesses, too.”

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack echoed the warnings over the legality of the legislation.

She said: “When I was first sworn into the parliament, I would never have thought we’d be discussing a Bill that would actively break international law.

“Because not only will the Tories’ Northern Ireland Protocol Bill break international law, it also further damages the UK’s global reputation as a trusted partner.

“And it risks worsening the cost-of-living crisis by throwing up further barriers to trade, and it will create further divisions at a time we need to be getting on with our neighbours in Europe.”

MPs voted 295 to 221, majority 74, to pass the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill on to its second reading on Monday.

Already a subscriber? Sign in