O’Toole: Protocol appeal defeat signals time for politicians to focus on real issues

brexit protocol matthew o'toole

The latest defeat for the Protocol legal case led by Jim Allister should prompt unionist politicians to move on and focus on real crises like the cost of living emergency and NHS waiting lists, SDLP Brexit spokesperson Matthew O’Toole MLA has said.

This morning, the Court of Appeal rejected the challenge to the Protocol on all grounds, confirming the High Court’s initial rejection of the case last year.

Matthew O’Toole MLA said:

“Today the Court of Appeal has rejected the arguments made by Jim Allister and his co-plaintiffs. The Protocol is legal, and was passed overwhelmingly in the UK Parliament – a fact that is unavoidable though difficult for some unionist politicians to accept.

“Rather than flail over the consequences of the rock-hard Brexit they championed, the DUP and Jim Allister should be focussed on dealing with what people are actually confronted with and care about: the cost of living emergency facing families right now. With families struggling to heat their homes and the continent of Europe facing humanitarian catastrophe, the sight of politicians fixating on the Protocol would be absurd, if its wasn’t so irresponsible.

“And unlike the rest of the UK, the Protocol means that Northern Ireland has potential economic advantage from access to both the EU and UK markets. Where there are issues on GB-NI trade that require smoothing, the solution is through discussion and engagement – rather than collapsing political institutions and mounting quixotic legal challenges.”

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