Liz Truss announces plans to rip up parts of Northern Ireland’s protocol
Britain’s Foreign Secretary will on Tuesday announce her intention to introduce legislation tearing up parts of the post-Brexit trade deal with Britain on Northern Ireland.
It is understood Liz Truss will make the announcement in a statement before the House of Commons after a full cabinet meeting to try to restore power-sharing in the region.
The dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol has deadlocked efforts to form a new executive branch at Stormont, with the Democratic Unionist Party refusing to join government unless its concerns about the accords are addressed.
A majority of MLAs in Stormont’s newly elected Assembly represent parties supporting keeping the protocol, with many arguing that the deal offers the region protection from some of the negative economic consequences of Brexit.
They also point to the unrestricted access Northern Ireland traders have to sell into the EU single market as a key benefit of the protocol.
Attempting to rewrite parts of the deal could risk a trade war with the European Union.
But a UK Foreign Office source said “it’s not about starting a fight with the EU,” and said Ms Truss’ priority was to uphold the Good Friday Agreement.
“They are motivated by the peace process and acting in the interests of Northern Ireland,” they said.
The PA news agency understands Ms Truss’ ambition is to bring the law before Parliament within a few weeks, and certainly before the summer.
However, it is believed that the overwhelming preference remains for a negotiated solution.
The Global Britain (Strategy) Committee, which deals with matters related to the UK’s trade priorities, will meet first on Tuesday, followed by the full Cabinet before Ms Truss makes her statement to the House of Commons.
On Monday evening, the British Foreign Secretary held talks with Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney and European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic.
In both, Ms Truss stressed the importance of maintaining the Good Friday Agreement and restoring the Northern Ireland Executive.
Mr Sefcovic later said that it would be preferable to accept the “flexibilities” offered by the EU than to take unilateral action against the protocol.
He tweeted: “Political will can solve practical problems arising from the implementation of the Protocol in Northern Ireland.
“Working with us through the flexibilities we offer would be a better course of action than unilaterally. We are ready from the start to do our part.”
It comes after the UK Prime Minister traveled to Belfast to meet with leaders of the Stormont parties to make progress.
He also used Monday’s trip to warn Brussels that Britain is ready to unilaterally rewrite the terms of the Brexit deal he signed.
Mr Johnson described this plan as an “insurance policy” in case no new deal could be reached with the EU.
The threat of unilateral action has already met with a bad response in European capitals, and EU leaders have urged the UK government to play a full part in the talks.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Monday that the only way to resolve the dispute was “substantial talks” between the UK and the EU.
https://www.independent.ie/business/brexit/liz-truss-to-announce-plans-to-rip-up-parts-of-northern-ireland-protocol-41656881.html Liz Truss announces plans to rip up parts of Northern Ireland’s protocol