Full Irish Sea checks “should only be applied to goods genuinely destined for the EU”, the command paper argues, a so-called “honesty box” approach.
Brussels has opposed a dual-standards regime – even if UK goods were labelled as only for use in Northern Ireland – for fear it will undermine the single market.
The package of demands adds up to a move to renegotiate the Protocol entirely, rather than simple seeking changes to customs and animal products checks, to reduce the impact.
The hardline stance was hailed as “a significant step in the right direction” by Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, and “an acceptance that the Protocol is not sustainable”.
But Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesman, said: “This is a joke.
“The government is taking us all for mugs when they say this mess could not have been predicted. They signed up to the Protocol knowing full well businesses would be caught up in a game of political football.”