The European Union has triggered Article 16 in the Northern Ireland protocol in a bid to stop coronavirus vaccines leaving the trading bloc and getting into the UK through Northern Ireland. Ben Habib told Brexit Unlocked Boris Johnson must also invoke Article 16 in order to get rid of the border down the Irish sea.
Mr Habib said: “We are now in a trade war with the European Union.
“I have just heard that they invoked Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol in order to prevent vaccines from getting from the EU into the United Kingdom via Ireland or Northern Ireland.
“What they have done is put a border down the island of Ireland.
“That is something they said could never be tolerated.”
The former MEP added: “The minute it did not suit them, and they wanted to protect their own bloc and the detriment to the UK even though we have an entitlement to these vaccines coming into the UK, they have put a border down Ireland.
“I, therefore, call on Boris Johnson to similarly invoke article 16, something he should have weeks ago.
“I call on him to invoke Article 16 and get rid of the border down the Irish sea permanently and put it on the island of Ireland.”
Following the news that Article 16 had been triggered by the EU, Downing Street released a statement.
This is the latest development in the EU’s coronavirus feud with the UK and AstraZeneca.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister was asked by Laura Kuenssberg “to respond to the EU’s seeming demand for some of the UK’s vaccine.”
Mr Johnson said: “All I can say is that we are very confident in our supplies and we are very confident in our contracts.
“We are going ahead on that basis.”
He added: “The Oxford vaccine is important for our country and the world and it’s a matter for the EU and AstraZeneca.”