Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Northern Ireland, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed news today that the UK and EU have agreed extend the grace period allowing the trade of chilled meat from Great Britain to Northern Ireland by three months. Mr Carmichael said that the agreement was positive but that a longer-term solution was needed, ideally one that would ease red tape and trade barriers for businesses for the whole UK which are struggling to deal with post-Brexit restrictions. The Withdrawal Agreement, agreed as part of Brexit talks, was designed to avoid a contentious hard border on the island of Ireland, but created a trade border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Mr Carmichael said:
“A ceasefire in the “sausage wars” can only be a good thing but until the UK and EU come to a pragmatic solution this is just kicking the can a little further down the road. What we need is a long-term solution and that has to start with a comprehensive veterinary and SPS agreement for traders. That would not only reduce the concerns of people in Northern Ireland but massively cut back the Brexit red tape that businesses across the UK are struggling with. A lasting deal is there to be had – we need to put pressure on government to take it.”