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Cleverly: ‘We have come to an impasse’ on protocol

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An exclusive poll by Techne UK for Express.co.uk has found 61 percent would back the Prime Minister in passing legislation to defend the integrity of the United Kingdom. Just 21 percent were against the idea, while 18 percent said they did not know.

Techne UK surveyed 1,633 UK adults on April 27 and 28.

It comes as Northern Ireland continues to be treated differently to the rest of the UK as a result of a Brexit deal with the EU.

The Northern Ireland Protocol, included in the 2020 withdrawal agreement, effectively keeps the province in the EU single market, forced to follow rules and regulations set by Brussels.

Customs checks must also be carried out on goods arriving from Britain, severely impacting trade across the Irish Sea.

The findings of the survey were welcomed by Tory MP David Jones, deputy chairman of the influential Brexit-backing European Research Group, who said the Prime Minister should now introduce measures to fix the problems caused by the Protocol.

“The results of this poll make it perfectly clear that the Government must take decisive action on the Protocol to reinforce the point Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom,” he told this website.

“There should be no friction to trade within the UK.

“It’s why legislation is necessary and I very much hope that a bill will be announced to that effect in the Queen’s Speech.”

The Government is due to unveil its legislative plans for the year ahead in the Queen’s Speech on May 10.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly threatened to unilaterally suspend the implementation of the Protocol if the EU does not renegotiate the international treaty.

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After more than six months of talks on the topic an agreement is yet to be reached.

Earlier this week, Europe Minister James Cleverly admitted there was increasing pressure on the Prime Minister to take action to end the tensions caused by the Protocol.

He told a parliamentary committee: “Everyone in Government is really focused on making sure that we don’t see Northern Ireland slip back into violence at all.

“We feel that this is one of the things that we should address to prevent that from happening.”

Earlier this week, the Daily Express revealed Mr Johnson is considering a plan to end the Brexit row with Brussels by introducing a new bill in Parliament.

The Prime Minister discussed a proposal with backbench MPs that would unequivocally confirm Northern Ireland is an integral part of the UK.

In a judgement last month, the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal declared that the Protocol “subjugated” key clauses of the 1800 Act of Union.

New legislation would help re-affirm the place of the province, effectively over-ruling the court judgement.

“It is important that the Prime Minister takes the opportunity to use the 80-seat majority he has for the benefit of the Union,” a source said.

“The desire to preserve and strengthen the Union runs right across the Conservative Party – far deeper and more important than any differences on policy.”

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