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Specification:

  • Edexcel: Component 4.3: The aims, role and impact of the European Union (EU) on UK government

  • AQA: Component 3.1.2.5: The European Union: the impact of the EU on UK politics and policymaking

Click to read the article below, watch the explanatory video within it and then answer the questions:

What does Northern Ireland protocol bill do and why is it contentious?

Background: what you need to know

This article explains the UK government’s proposal to take powers to correct or override the controversial Northern Ireland protocol. This is the arrangement to which Boris Johnson signed up, as part of his 2019 Brexit agreement with the EU, which introduces checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from mainland Britain.

The Democratic Unionist Party, supported by Conservative Eurosceptics, is opposed to the protocol. They argue that it not only disrupts internal trade but also treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK. However, the EU insists that any planned rewriting is a breach of international law. Non-Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland, UK opposition parties and some Conservative MPs are against Johnson’s plan. The House of Lords is expected to block the legislation. It is unlikely to become law in the immediate future.

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the Brexit process has had mainly negative consequences for UK government and politics.

    In your answer you should draw on relevant knowledge and understanding of the study of Component 1: UK politics and core political ideas. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way.

    [30 marks]

    TIP: For the Edexcel question, a possible Component 1 topic is Political Parties. There is more information here on the influence of a hardline Eurosceptic pressure group within the Conservative party, the European Research Group (ERG), on government policy towards the EU: Hardline pro-Brexit Tory MPs return to vanguard of party politics

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • Explain and analyse three ways in which membership of the EU has affected the UK political system. [9 marks]

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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