The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) oppose this because it has created a trade barrier with the rest of the UK. It won't allow the formation of a new government in NI unless there are significant changes. However, following the recent elections, a majority of assembly members accept the Protocol .'A good arrangement… with the minimum possible bureaucratic consequences' - 19 October 2019
And drawn up by the Treasury - leaked a few weeks later - warned that " customs declarations and documentary and physical checks. . will be highly disruptive to the NI economy".
It also highlighted potential constitutional implications, saying NI could be " symbolically separated" from the rest of the UK.'If somebody asks to do that, tell them to ring up the Prime Minister and I will direct them to throw that form in the Bin ' - 8 November 2019
Mr Johnson was asked by an NI businessman whether he could tell his staff that they wouldn't have to complete customs declarations for goods going from NI to GB. Mr Johnson said he could.'There will be no checks on goods going from GB to NI, or NI to GB' - 8 December 2019
Parts of the Treasury document are now out of date (the possibility that tariffs or taxes could be charged on many goods crossing from GB to NI, for example, was removed by the signing of the new EU-UK free trade Agreement in December 2020).
But it set out clearly that there would be a range of bureaucratic measures affecting GB-NI trade, including customs declarations, food safety checks, security checks, and regulatory checks on product standards.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), says that various checks (whether on documents or physical inspections) were carried out at NI ports on:
And This Was despite a series of " grace periods" - during which the full implementation of EU rules was temporarily suspended to allow businesses to get used to the new way of trading.'It is fully compatible with the Good Friday Agreement ' - 19 October 2019
Boris Johnson asserted this in response to A Question in Parliament from the DUP's Nigel Dodds Who Said the Protocol " drives a coach and horses through the Belfast Agreement " and urged Mr Johnson to reconsider The Plan .
He reminded the Prime Minister that he had told the DUP conference in 2018 that " no British Conservative government could or should sign up" to an arrangement with regulatory checks and customs controls between GB and NI.
On 11 May 2022, at a press conference in Sweden, Mr Johnson said that the Good Friday Agreement meant that " things have got to command cross-community support. Plainly the Northern Ireland Protocol fails to do that and we need to sort it out".'There will be no Border Down the Irish Sea … over my dead Body ' - 13 August 2020
But you don't have to have passport controls and officers wearing peaked caps to qualify as a border.
The DUP is deeply unhappy about this, and has adopted the slogan " No border in the Irish Sea ".What have the UK and the EU said since?
The EU says it has tried to show some flexibility and has come up with But they would not be dispensed with altogether.
When It Comes to changing the actual treaty, the EU is resolute. European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said: " The Protocol , as a cornerstone of the [Brexit] withdrawal Agreement , is an international Agreement . Its renegotiation is not an option. "