UK Brexit minister Lord Frost dismissed the possibility of the UK aligning with EU veterinary standards as a mechanism to resolve the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He also indicated that the UK government could take action on the protocol unilaterally which would put the UK on a collision course with the EU.

In an update on negotiations, he said there are between 20 and 30 protocol issues being worked on by the UK and EU.


Veterinary alignment would be the preferred option for British exporters of goods that are of animal, plant and fish origin to not just Northern Ireland but the EU as well.

This would have been the hope for Irish exporters as well as they face the same issues as are being experienced with the NI protocol when the UK start imposing border controls from October.

Lord Frost had been explaining the current UK position in appearances before a House of Commons committee on Monday and a House of Lords committee on Tuesday, as well as writing an opinion piece for a Sunday newspaper.

The UK government has also come under pressure from farm leaders this week as the UK trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand approach the endgame.

Australia and New Zealand want access for beef and sheepmeat on a no-tariff, no-quota basis, the same as the EU.

This position was also adopted by an advisory committee on agriculture in a report to government and it is understood there are divided views in the UK government on the issue.