Michael Gove warns Northern Irish voters will reject EU over bureaucratic customs rules

Michael Gove warns Northern Irish voters will reject EU over bureaucratic customs rulesMichael Gove has warned Northern Ireland will vote to break away from EU customs rules if Brussels is too "bureaucratic" about enforcing the new border in the Irish Sea. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told MPs on a scrutiny committee that there would be "unfettered access" of Northern Irish products to mainland Britain. Pressed on whether that meant no exit declarations on goods travelling to the mainland, he said, "absolutely". Michel Barnier said at the end of the fourth round of Brexit negotiations that avoiding exit declarations on goods moving from Northern Ireland was "incompatible with the legal commitments accepted by the UK" in the Northern Irish Protocol. Mr Gove, a cabinet minister, warned a heavy-handed approach would mean voters deciding against continued alignment with EU rules in the Stormont Vote planned for four years' time. The British Government secured the vote to bring democratic accountability in negotiations with the EU, which ended in a deal to put a customs border in the Irish Sea rather than on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is an EU member. "If the protocol is seen to be working, it's more likely the alignment provisions can be accepted," Mr Gove said, "if it's the case that it were imposed in an over bureaucratic and burdensome manner that would lead inevitably, I think, to a greater degree of disquiet." "When it comes to goods moving from Northern Ireland into the rest of the United Kingdom, the situation will be exactly the same. Come what may," Mr Gove said before admitting there would be additional checks on British goods going to Northern Ireland.

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