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Mark Drakeford warns ripping up Northern Ireland protocol would have ‘serious consequences’

Wales’ First Minister has said that any changes to the Northern Ireland protocol would have “very serious consequences”. In a letter to the Prime Minister he says the Welsh Government needs to be involved in any discussions as they would directly affect the port of Holyhead.

He tweeted a link to the letter, which has been sent to 10 Downing Street, saying. “Following media reports that the UK Gov wants to rip up parts of the NI Protocol they negotiated, agreed and signed. This decision would have very serious consequences for the UK as a whole and must not be taken unilaterally.”

The letter reads: “It is widely reported that the UK Government is preparing legislation to disapply unilaterally parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Acting in this way would, I believe, risk material damage to the British economy and, given that the protocol is part of a binding international agreement which you negotiated and signed, undermine Britain’s reputation internationally. Furthermore, since any action along these lines would affect all parts of the UK there is a clear case for a discussion of all UK governments to consider this matter.

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“The Minister for Economy set out the Welsh Government’s position in respect of the Protocol in his letter to the Foreign Secretary of 17 January, and that position remains unchanged. Respecting and safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement must be the first priority of the discussions about the future of the Protocol, and the issues at stake – which I recognise are complex and sensitive – can only be resolved through dialogue. In relation to Wales specifically, the Welsh Government has a direct interest in anything which affects the way in which goods flow between Great Britain and the island of Ireland, given the strategic importance of our west-facing ports, particularly Holyhead, and on matters which might affect Welsh businesses more widely.

“I urge you not to take any unilateral action, but to continue dialogue with the EU. In addition, it is essential that the current position is discussed with the Devolved Governments. I suggest we agenda an item for a meeting of the IMG on UK-EU relations and would appreciate your response to this thought.”

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