Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly has said that the UK’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which was debated in the European Parliament today (Wednesday, July 6), marks a new low in relations between the EU and the UK.

The proposed bill, which passed the second reading stage in the UK House of Commons last month, would allow the UK government to unilaterally ignore EU-UK arrangements for Northern Ireland after Brexit.

EuroParlRadio has reported that the Ireland south MEP said today’s debate on the protocol sends a clear message to the UK that the bill is unacceptable. He said:

“It is important to get the message across that while we are engaged in the war in Ukraine, we haven’t forgotten about Brexit and their (the UK government’s) action, which is a breach of international law.”

Speaking to EuroParlRadio, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus said that the EU needs to show unity against the protocol bill, which he described as “nothing more than a proxy for wider, sustained attacks on the Good Friday Agreement”.

Discussing the reasons why the debate was taking place, MacManus cited the Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP’s) and Jeffrey Donaldson’s reluctance to accept that unionism is no longer the majority in Northern Ireland.

“We also have the wider issue then of the problems that are going on in the Tory leadership.

“Boris Johnson is intent on maintaining himself as leader, and then you have Liz Truss who is supposed to be negotiating in good faith with the EU, but who has her head up to be the Tory leader.”

According to MacManus, MEPs have become more aware of the importance of protecting the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

He then cited the words of President Macron (France) when he said “‘Isn’t Irish unity the most logical solution to all of this in the long term?”

“So I say the EU needs to start preparing as does the Irish government back home, to have a long debate and a long discussion about what the possibility of a united Ireland, fully within the European Union would look like,” MacManus finished.