Liz Truss defends decision to change Northern Ireland Protocol
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The new legislation gives ministers power to entirely wipe out elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol and give new power to Britain after failed talks with Brussels. The Foreign Secretary has insisted that the legislation is within the bounds of international law after concerns it would breach such law and start a trade war with the bloc.
However, the Vice President of Sinn Fein, Michelle O’Neill stated that it was a “clear breach” of international law and slammed Boris Johnson for creating political and economic uncertainty.
Ms O’Neill said in a press conference: “All that Boris Johnson is doing today is to further political instability and create even more economic uncertainty for the days and weeks ahead.”
The Government has argued that the legal position is justified as it is within international law for a “genuinely exceptional situation” and currently it is argued that the commitments to the Good Friday Agreement are not being protected.
The Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been defending the new legislation saying that there was little choice given the stubbornness of the EU and reiterated her hopes for renewed negotiations.
Liz Truss said: “We’re fixing these problems that are causing real difficulties for communities within the United Kingdom and that is the duty of the United Kingdom Government to make sure we maintain political stability in our own country.
“We have sought a negotiated settlement for the last 18 months, but as yet the EU have been unwilling to change the terms of the Protocol.
“So, I would strongly encourage the Irish Taoiseach to discuss this issue with the EU to get a change in the mandate and then we can go to the negotiating table.”
Former politician Daniel Hannan tweeted: “For over a year, Britain has been proposing ways to resolve the problems with the Protocol in a manner that meets the EU’s stated objections.
“Brussels has not responded.
“Gotta love the folk on Twitter who, coming new to the argument, say ‘why don’t we just negotiate?’”
With the Vice-President Maros Sefcovic saying that “renegotiating the protocol is unrealistic” and would bring “further legal uncertainty for people and businesses in Northern Ireland, it seems unlikely that the post-Brexit rows will be dying down”.
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Mr Sefcovic added: “The European Union will not renegotiate the protocol. Our aim will always be to secure the implementation of the Protocol.”
Brexiteers and Mr Hannan have expressed frustration at the Bloc’s obstinacy and the blame the UK is receiving for the new legislation.
On LBC Boris Johnson said that concerns over a trade war with the EU over the legislation would be a “gross overreaction” on the side of the EU in response to what he called “trivial” changes.
He added: “It’s a bureaucratic change that needs to be made. Frankly it’s a relatively trivial set of adjustments.”
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