Ireland is being used by the EU as a ‘stick to beat naughty Brits’, Brexiteer claims

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At the end of January, a row over coronavirus vaccine supplies prompted the EU to use the “nuclear” option of invoking Article 16. This is part of the Northern Ireland Protocol which governs the island’s trading arrangements with the EU and Great Britain.

But now, Annabelle Sanderson, the former Ukip aide to Nigel Farage, warned the Republic should not “rely on the EU”.

Ms Sanderson told Express.co.uk: “The Republic should not rely on the EU – it is being used as a stick with which to beat us naughty Brits.

“The implications of causing friction between the UK and Ireland won’t benefit anyone but it will harm people living in those two places.

“And that’s even before you get into the disaster of the vaccine policy.

“My Irish friends have watched in dismay as the roll out over there has been hampered by the EU and cooperation between the UK and EIRE has been stopped by Brussels.

“We have a history going back longer than 1974.”

The Northern Ireland protocol was one of biggest issues during negotiations between the EU and UK last year.

It was designed to keep trade flowing smoothly on the island and to avoid a hard border and checkpoints.

However, the former Ukip aide added how she does not think the EU made a mistake with the Northern Ireland protocol.

She continued: “I don’t think the EU made a mistake – I think their aim is for a united Ireland in which case making everything a huge problem for Ulster will suit them.

“The problem seems to be where the civil service and UK government give in too much to the EU over NI.

“I can understand with the importance of the GFA why they want to tread carefully but I think the way things are going, by refusing to come up with a workable solution to cross border issues will cause long term antagonism between the mainland and NI.”

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Ms Sanderson also attacked the Government and claimed a post-Brexit Britain could be “global leaders” in technology but are instead “talking about building tunnels”.

She continued: “We have an opportunity to actually be global leaders by looking at the opportunities of using the tech talent in this country but instead we are talking about building tunnels.

“The Cabinet Office has said they will be looking at solutions this year but they’re running out of time.

“I hope they don’t just rely on expensive contracts with management consultants.”

Her comments come after Boris Johnson moved forward with plans to improve Scottish trade by digging a tunnel to Northern Ireland.

The project, nicknamed the ‘Boris Burrow’, could be given the green light in the next few weeks, with a proposal paper set to be put to the Prime Minister.

The multi-billion infrastructure project, which has been backed by Scotland Secretary Alister Jack, could be greenlit within weeks.

Mr Johnson first signalled support for a bridge across the Irish Sea back in 2018 while challenging Theresa May for leadership of the Conservative Party.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Wendy is likely to publish interim reports on the feasibility of the tunnel within the next few weeks.

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