PM urged to stop EU payments until NI protocol issues resolved

A Eurosceptic MP has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stop payments to the EU until issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol are resolved.

The UK is currently still making payments to the EU as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. £20bn is set to be paid to the bloc over the next two years, with more to follow.

Conservative MP Mark Francois leads the party’s European Research Group and suggested the PM halt the payments until the protocol is addressed.

It has angered unionists in Northern Ireland who believe the agreement, to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, cuts the region off from the rest of the UK.

It keeps Northern Ireland in the European Single Market, aligned with the EU on trade rules.

Mr Francois told the Sunday Telegraph the money was “Danegeld”, a land tax levied in Anglo-Saxon England during the reign of King Ethelred to raise funds for protection against Danish invaders.

“Since we left the transition period the EU’s attitude has been increasing bellicose,” he said.

“First they criticised our ‘British’ vaccine and then attacked us for not giving them enough of it, then they triggered Article 16, in some overnight spasm, to create a hard border they had sworn to avoid and now they are petulantly refusing to ratify a trade deal which it took a year to negotiate.

“As Brits, we traditionally honour our obligations but you have to ask yourself why are we continuing to pay this Danegeld to people who only treat us with open contempt in return?”

Mark Francois (Victoria Jones/PA)
Mark Francois (Victoria Jones/PA)



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