Washington is accused of trying to ‘bully’ the UK over Brexit after warning any free trade deal would be blocked if the Northern Ireland Protocol is ‘unilaterally discarded’
- Washington was accused of trying to ‘bully’ the UK over Brexit yesterday
- Nancy Pelosi said Congress will not do free trade deal if NI Protocol discarded
- Former Tory Cabinet minister John Redwood accused her of ‘idle threats’
Washington was accused of trying to ‘bully’ the UK over Brexit yesterday after warning a trade deal was under threat.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress will not support a free trade deal with Britain if the Government persists with ‘deeply concerning’ plans to ‘unilaterally discard’ the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Former Tory Cabinet minister John Redwood accused her of ‘idle threats’, stressing ‘a majority of UK voters do not accept bullying from abroad’.
In a stark message, House speaker Nancy Pelosi branded the PM’s threat to axe the protocol ‘deeply concerning’
Former Tory Cabinet minister John Redwood accused her of ‘idle threats’, stressing ‘a majority of UK voters do not accept bullying from abroad’
Theresa May’s former chief of staff Lord Barwell said: ‘Not just our European friends that are very concerned about this government’s apparent willingness to renege on commitments it has made.’
But senior DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: ‘As far as people who understand Northern Ireland go, Speaker Pelosi is at the ‘back of the queue’.’
This was a reference to Barack Obama, who as president said Britain would be at the back of the queue for a US trade deal if it quit the EU.
The Protocol, which effectively treats Northern Ireland in many ways as being in the EU single market, was agreed by Boris Johnson’s Government as part of a Brexit deal with the European Union.
But the Government is now seeking to alter the deal, as it creates a border down the Irish Sea. It is accusing Brussels of a lack of flexibility to make changes which it argues were always envisaged.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss this week announced plans to legislate to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal treaty to be able to unilaterally change the Protocol.
But Mrs Pelosi warned: ‘It is deeply concerning that the United Kingdom is now seeking to unilaterally discard the Northern Ireland Protocol.
‘Negotiated agreements like the Protocol preserve the important progress and stability forged by the Good Friday accords, which continue to enjoy strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the United States Congress.’
Lord Frost criticised the Houser Speaker for suggesting that Boris Johnson’s threat to over-ride the Northern Ireland Protocol could see a transatlantic trade deal shelved.
She added: ‘As I have stated in my conversations with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and members of the House of Commons, if the United Kingdom chooses to undermine the Good Friday Accords, the Congress cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.’
But Mr Redwood said: ‘Nancy Pelosi should talk to Unionists in Northern Ireland about the damage the EU is doing to the Northern Ireland Protocol. It is the EU not the UK that has undermined it and led to the breakdown of the Assembly.’
Yesterday Irish premier Micheal Martin called for the UK government to engage in dialogue over the Protocol.
He said: ‘We accept that legitimate issues have been raised in the context of the Protocol, but it is our view that they can be resolved.’