The Fiona Bruce-hosted show featured an audience member from Northern Ireland who shared he has had no issues with supply and stock after Brexit. It follows supermarkets in the UK warning the Government “urgent intervention” is needed to prevent further disruption to Northern Ireland supply chains.
Speaking to the panel of guests including , the audience member insisted “industry hasn’t stopped” in Northern Ireland, and asked how much of the reports have been “hyped up” by remainers.
He added: “Every single drop of fuel that comes into Northern Ireland, unless I’m incorrect, they come from refineries in Great Britain.
“I haven’t seen any shortages in the petrol stations, I’ve seen no broken down cars for lack of fuel. The industry hasn’t stopped, it’s all working as far as I can see.
“So yes, there are problems that need to get sorted out, (but) how much of this is being hyped up in the same way that remainers said ‘Oh this will happen, that will happen, there’ll be massive queues’?”
Northern Ireland remains a part of the EU’s single market as a condition of the Brexit trade deal, allowing the country to import goods from the bloc without restrictions or tariffs.
However, businesses in Great Britain now must abide by trade barriers, such as customs declarations, to Northern Ireland as they would entering the EU.
Hauliers have already flagged “significant problems” shipping goods from Britain to Northern Ireland
Aodhan Connolly, from the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said to the BBC: “We need the UK and the EU to sit down and talk about (…) a long-term workable solution because quite frankly this isn’t it.”
Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland secretary, has insisted Brexit is not to blame for supply shortages in the country.
He said to Sky News: “The flow of food and goods linked to the EU and the Northern Ireland Protocol has been good actually.
“Where we’ve seen some images of empty shelves in Northern Ireland — although let’s be clear we’ve seen them across the UK recently — has been linked to Covid and some of the challenges we’ve had at Dover due to Covid just before Christmas and the flow through the supply line of that rather than through the protocol.
“Supermarkets we’ve been talking to regularly have good flows of supply and that’s important to Northern Ireland, being an integral part of the United Kingdom.”
Edwin Poots, Democratic Unionist Party MP, replied by describing the secretary as “the emperor with no clothes – but instead of a small boy pointing out he’s naked, the whole crowd is pointing it out”.
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It comes as chief executives of the UK’s major supermarkets have warned Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove of shortages of some products in their stores.
In a letter, the heads of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Iceland, Co-Op and Marks & Spency urged the minister to find a long term solution to issues with new certification requirements, set to be implemented in April.
Sainsbury’s has been unable to supply their own brands and instead have stocked Spar-branded products from a Northern Irish wholesaler.
Mark’s & Spencer’s has also refuted its range of food products in the short term due to certification requirements.
Published at Fri, 22 Jan 2021 06:16:00 +0000