Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

This article, selected by a teacher with suggested questions, is part of the Financial Times Free School Access Program. Details / registration here.


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

  • AQA: Component The European Union: the EU’s impact on British politics and policy-making

Background: what you need to know

The article focuses on a seemingly insoluble problem that arose from the Brexit process. To avoid a ‘hard border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the Johnson government agreed to control goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland, effectively keeping the latter within the EU’s internal market structure.

The British government is now seeking to amend this agreement, which has caused problems for British trade and is also strongly opposed by the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland. As the article explains, there are limits to the EU’s willingness to compromise on its border controls. Finding a solution to this issue is the challenge facing Foreign Minister Liz Truss and EU negotiators.

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

Brexit deadlock: Will the UK and EU agree on Northern Ireland?

Depending on the exam board you are following, answer one of the following questions.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that withdrawal from the EU has had mainly negative consequences for British governments.

    In your answer you should make use of relevant knowledge and understanding of the study of Component 1: UK politics and political core ideas. You need to consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    CLUE: For the Edexcel question, a relevant Component 1 topic may be Component 2: Political parties. The article mentions the pressure that the Democratic Unionist Party placed on the British government to abolish the border from the Irish Sea. This is a good example of how a minor party can exert significant influence on the British political process.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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