If Article 16 is triggered then no-deal is back on the table say peers

Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Brexit Minister Lord Frost is to make a statement today that could signal a suspension of the post-Brexit arrangements drawn up with the EU.

According to members of the House of Lords a no-deal Brexit will be back on the table if the UK proceeds with triggering Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Such a move is likely to spark retaliation from the EU, with talk of a suspension of the EU-UK trade deal that could result in a trade war.

However, the EU has been warned it will regret picking a fight with Britain given the £2.35 trillion worth of goods the bloc has sold to the UK in the last ten years.

A new report from Facts4EU says a trade war would put the jobs of hundreds of thousands of EU citizens at risk, with Germany, the Netherlands and France the most at risk from the fallout.

The report points out the EU sells 52 percent more to the UK than it buys, and has enjoyed a trade surplus of £808 billion.

Lord Jay of Ewelme, Chair of the House of Lords sub-Committee on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol, said a triggering of Article 16 risked resetting negotiations and could result in a no-deal Brexit.

Lord Jay said:

“I agree with you very much on what to say about the risks of Article 16 being imposed or being triggered and the response to Article 16 by the European Union, potentially leading to all the complicated negotiations with the prospect of a no-deal as the last stage. That is one end of the spectrum.

“The other end of the spectrum, which I think we can’t rule it out, and I certainly wouldn’t want to rule out, although I must say that the prospects are not looking brilliant at the moment, is for a negotiated settlement to be reached between now and Christmas or over Christmas.

“I don’t think we can rule that out.”

The comments came at a joint meeting between the Oireachtas Committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement with the House of Lords Committee and the Seanad Special Select Committee on Brexit on Wednesday.

Yesterday (Tuesday), Irish deputy premier Leo Varadkar said the Irish Government is reactivating no-deal contingency planning in preparation for a potential unravelling of the Brexit deal.

Talks between London and Brussels over the contentious protocol remain deadlocked and there is growing speculation that the UK is poised to trigger Article 16 in the coming days.

Lord Frost is due to make an announcement later today.

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