Westminster committee chairs call for oversight of Northern Ireland Protocol
The chairs of nine influential Westminster committees have called on the UK government to provide a mechanism for scrutiny of the Northern Ireland part of the Brexit deal.
In a letter sent to Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the chairs said MPs must be “notified of, and enabled to scrutinise” new and amended EU laws taking effect under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Simon Hoare, Conservative MP and chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, is among the nine signatories to the letter, which was sent to Mr Gove on Friday.
“At a minimum,” it states, “the European Scrutiny Committee and the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee should be notified of such draft legislation at the earliest opportunity, and ministers should accept any request by either Committee to give evidence on any issues arising and how this legislation is to be implemented.”
The Northern Ireland Protocol, agreed alongside the Withdrawal Agreement, is supposed to take effect after the end of the transition period at the end of 2020, but there remain significant concerns about the timetable for its implementation.
The first meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, made up of EU and UK officials, reportedly led to sharp disagreement over EU proposals to open a technical office in Belfast to aid implementation of the protocol.