PM sets out ‘insurance’ plan to rewrite Northern Ireland’s Brexit deal
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After multiple threats, Britain is set to tell the European Union today to tear up the negotiation mandate on the Northern Ireland protocol or there will be unilateral decisions on changing the rules. The Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has devised new legislation to overrule elements of the post-Brexit deal to be implemented by the summer unless the EU budges.
Boris Johnson tweeted on Monday: “Today I am visiting Northern Ireland with a clear message: the UK government will play its part to ensure political peace & democracy, but the parties must come together to restore power sharing and tackle cost of living pressures.”
He added: “We must have a functioning Assembly and Executive, so it can deliver for people in Northern Ireland.
“There is no substitute for strong local leadership on issues like schools, health, and the economy. Stormont must get back to work.”
Liz Truss also tweeted: “Spoke to Marcos Sefcovic [EU Negotiator] on NI Protocol. I was clear that the UK government’s priority is upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and getting the NI Executive back up and running.
“We need to ensure equal treatment for the people of NI to bring parity with the rest of the UK.”
The Foreign Secretary also spoke to Simon Coveney, Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs and said: “I underlined our commitment to solving the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol, protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement by re-establishing the NI Executive and ensuring ongoing cooperation with our closest neighbour.”
Mr Coveney warned that any unilateral action from the UK could undermine and “erode” the peace process and that there would be a “consequence” if UK actions cause instability in Ireland.
Ms Truss also spoke with Nancy Pelosi, US Speaker of the House about the issue after Lord Frost warned President Biden to “butt out” of the ongoing rows over the Northern Ireland Protocol and to “stop lecturing” the UK.
Lord Frost wrote in The Telegraph: “The Government has no option now other than to act unilaterally to disapply part or all of the Protocol.”
He described the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement as “on life support” with an “imminent threat to our ability to govern Northern Ireland and protect its people’s economic, trading, and security interests”.
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Following talks at Hillsborough Castle, Sinn Fein accused Boris Johnson of “reckless” threats but the UK has said that talks can only continue if the EU agrees to rewrite parts of the protocol, which has so far been ruled out.
Deputy leader of the cross-community Alliance party, Stephen Farry told The Times: “We were giving [Johnson] a very clear warning that if he plays fast and loose with the protocol and indeed the Good Friday Agreement, then he is going to be adding more and more instability to Northern Ireland.”
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