A UK Government petition calling to ‘Trigger Article 16’ has reached over 100,000 signatures.
Started by DUP Leader Arlene Foster, the petition calls on the Government to remove many barriers to free trade that were put in place as part of the agreement between the UK and EU in the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Withdrawal Agreement.
The petition claims that the Northern Ireland Protocol has caused “real economic and societal difficulties” and has created unnecessary barriers to free trade, “disrupting supply lines of goods to Northern Ireland”.
Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken said: “For everyone in Northern Ireland who is experiencing delays, can’t get goods or agricultural products delivered, who don’t want their pets to have to be vaccinated for non-existant diseases, as well as those of us who believe that the Northern Ireland Protocol is fundamentally and irrevocably flawed – I urge you to sign.
“I would also ask all those across the United Kingdom who believe in the Union to sign this petition as well.”
Nigel Farage has also shown his support for the petition, saying: “I am signing this petition to put pressure on the Government to do something and urge Brexiteers and those that believe in the UK to do the same.”
It seems that Northern Ireland is being increasingly cut off from the rest of the UK in terms of trade.
I am signing this petition to put pressure on the government to do something and urge Brexiteers and those that believe in the UK to do the same.https://t.co/Eg7Jori28I
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 4, 2021
Arlene Foster, in response to the success of the petition, said: “As one part of our five-point plan to scrap the Protocol, I applied for and secured a Parliamentary e-petition. It is a symptom of the concern, that in just over 24 hours 100,000 people across every constituency in the United Kingdom have called on Parliament to trigger Article 16 and deliver unfettered GB-NI trade.
“Whilst we have reached the 100,000 trigger, I encourage people throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom to keep signing and keep registering your support for our campaign to free us from the Protocol. The campaign has not finished. We need to keep going.”
As of today, the petition has nearly 130,000 signatures, meaning that the Government will be expected to consider debating the petition in Parliament. The success demonstrates the power of backbench MPs to hold the Government to account.