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UK Cabinet Office minister Lord Frost, speaking to the Committee on the Workings of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Stormont assembly, attempts to defend the negotiation of the NI protocol, which has seen relations between the UK and EU sour as well as enraged the unionist/loyalist community.
- When asked by committee chair Colin McGrath (SDLP) 'If your deal is so shoddy why did you negotiate it?', Frost replies that "The underlying issue is the way it is being implemented at the moment doesn't reflect the balance we believed we agreed."
- Frost offers little clarity on what would be required for the UK gov't to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, which allows for the suspension of the NI protocol in extreme circumstances. Tony Connelly at RTE tweets on the committee hearing: "Lord Frost hedges when asked what the threshold would be on diversion of trade to trigger Article 16: "It's not possible to give a trigger threshold. Article 16 is quite an unusual provision, there isn't a great deal of international jurisprudence on the issue to say when there's a problem. I don't think it's possible for us to say x pc of trade going in one direction is grounds for triggering A16. What we are seeing is an increase in trade diversion which is there and happening. But all options are on the table."