Marks & Spencer’s chairman has warned shoppers in Northern Ireland will miss out on some products this Christmas because of problems with the post-Brexit agreement on the region.
Archie Norman, who has requested a meeting with Brexit minister Lord Frost, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Northern Ireland Protocol will cause “gaps on the shelves”.
The former Tory MP said: “This Christmas, I can tell you already, we’re having to make decisions to delist product for Northern Ireland because it’s simply not worth the risk of trying to get it through.
“We’ve already made that decision. We’re waiting to see how serious it’s going to be but if it’s anything like southern Ireland, and at the moment it’s set to be, then it’s going to be very, very serious for customers.”
He called for a “common sense approach to enforcement focused on the ends, which is protecting consumers, not the bureaucratic means”.
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Meanwhile, ministers are today preparing to outline their proposals to Parliament for solving the “serious challenges” caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Boris Johnson used a phone call on Tuesday with his Dublin counterpart Micheal Martin to urge “pragmatism” in order to mend the issues being created by the post-Brexit terms, as reports suggest the UK will put itself on a collision course with the European Union over its proposed solutions.
The Financial Times said Brexit minister Lord Frost will outline a strategy that seeks to eliminate most checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Conservative peer told Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee that the only way to make the Protocol work was to “hugely reduce or eliminate the barriers” that Brexit has created.
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