UUP leader meets with Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

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UUP leader meets with Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

The Windsor Framework is more than just an attempt to find a solution to Northern Ireland post Brexit arrangement. It is also more than just trying to deal with the disastrous Northern Ireland Protocol that put us in this position. It's about the UK’s global relationships particularly between the EU and US.

That was the clear message from Nick Thomas-Symonds MP - the Shadow Minister without Portfolio - who is looking at Labour’s preparations for government.

What was also clear is that Labour will not change the Windsor Framework and will aim to move closer to the EU if they form the next government.

On the back of the Labour Leader saying similar in regards the Framework, as well as the U.K. Government outlining no intention to make change, what next?  I fail to understand what a boycott of the devolved institutions is actually achieving. It is now doing more harm to Northern Ireland's place in the union than it is protecting it.

At the meeting, we outlined our concerns in regard to the Framework. The unacceptable checks and bureaucracy on green lane goods that are not required. Indeed, a green lane is not needed, just normal trading. The need for a veterinary medicines agreement and the formation of an ‘Intertrade U.K.’ to help with the flow of trade between the four nations of the U.K.

We also outlined how we could maximise the Framework to copper-fasten Northern Ireland's place in the U.K., we could do this by making the live trade data sharing between GB and NI the best practice between U.K. and EU, with the data sharing hub in NI, Much the same as Swansea is the hub for all vehicle licensing issues.

Lastly, we spoke about how Northern Ireland is funded. How we should view the fiscal floor. We outlined that due to our size we do not have similar economy of scale to England or Scotland, so it costs more here to provide the same service than it does in the larger U.K. regions.

The trajectory continually points to restoration of our devolved government with mitigations to how the Windsor framework may operate internally. If that's the case, we need to get on with it before our services become irretrievable.