Northern Ireland

Brexit: NI politicians to take part in UK-wide meeting

File photo dated 12/3/2019 of Union and EU flags flying outside the Palace of Westminster, London Image copyright Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Politicians from across the UK, including NI's first and deputy first ministers, will have discussions about Brexit via a video-link later.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill will take part in a video conference chaired by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove.

The joint ministerial committee will also hear from NI Secretary Brandon Lewis and representatives from the Welsh and Scottish governments.

The NI protocol and the Brexit transition period will be discussed.

Meanwhile a joint UK and EU committee focused on how to implement the Northern Ireland part of the Brexit deal is due to hold its second meeting.

The specialised committee is made up of government officials rather than politicians.

The UK delegation includes senior Stormont official Andrew McCormick.

The lead teams on both sides will meet in Brussels, with others joining by video calls.

At the end of the transition period on 31 December, Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules on agricultural and manufactured goods, while the rest of the UK will not.

Additionally, the whole of the UK will leave the EU's customs union but Northern Ireland will continue to enforce the EU's customs code at its ports.

This will mean some new checks and processes for goods coming into Northern Ireland from other parts of the UK and potentially some new administration for goods going the other way.

The UK and EU have yet to agree the nature and extent of the checks on goods after the transition period, with the committee expected to do much of the work on this issue.

Since the last meeting in April the UK government has published a paper laying out its views on how the deal should be implemented.

The UK has also made formal applications to the EU to have facilities at Northern Ireland's ports designated as border inspection posts.

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