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Trade is not a devolved power, so Stormont would never have had a role in it anyway. The only reason it is being mentioned now is to give some fig leaf of "democratic accountability" to N. Ireland being subject to the rules of the CUSM, without having a say in their formulation.

But Stormont never had a say in their formulation as part of the UK in any case, so the more appropriate bodies, established under the Good Friday Agreement are are the Strand 2 (North South) bodies:
    North/South Ministerial Council
    North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association
    North/South Consultative Forum

And the Strand 3 (East West) bodies

    British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference
    British-Irish Council
    An expanded British-Irish Inter-parliamentary Body

These institutions have been criminally neglected since the GFA was signed and giving them responsibility for trade would give them some much needed relevance (without giving the DUP a veto).

The other advantage of this arrangement, from a UK government perspective, is that they could claim to have taken the Backstop out of the hated Withdrawal Agreement and come to a bi-lateral arrangement with the Republic of Ireland instead, via an amended Good Friday Agreement.

Of Course the Good Friday Agreement is an international Treaty, lodged with the United Nations, and no less binding on future UK governments than the withdrawal Agreement. The EU would have to agree or act as co-guarantor (together with the existing guarantors, the UK, Irish, and US governments) but that could be buried in the small print.

I don't think British people or their government have a problem with trade being managed on an all-Ireland basis and the GFA can provide a democratic and accountable framework for doing so.  But that would provide the DUP with a unilateral veto, and therein lies the rub...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 11th, 2019 at 09:13:43 AM EST
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