British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss once claimed that the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Ireland would only affect “a few farmers with turnips in their trucks”, according to a former British diplomat.
Lexandra Hall Hall resigned from her diplomatic role in the US in 2019, saying she no longer wanted to spread “half-truths” on behalf of leaders she didn’t “trust.”
In response to the Foreign Secretary’s plan to suspend parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Ms Hall Hall said she was “so pleased that Liz Truss has become a real expert on Irish affairs”.
The ex-official tweeted: “[Ms Truss] was after all the minister who told a US audience three years ago that Brexit would not have any serious impact on Ireland…it would just “hit a couple of farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks”.
Ms. Truss visited the US in August 2019 as International Secretary of Commerce and addressed the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington DC.
After backing Boris Johnson’s successful campaign for the Tory leadership, she backed his threats to leave the EU with no deal rather than abandon Brexit altogether.
Ms Hall Hall spent more than 30 years at the Foreign Office before resigning from her post at the British Embassy in Washington in December 2019 – and revealed she was “dismayed” by the Government’s reluctance to be open about the Brexit “compromises”. to speak.
She accused Mr Johnson’s government of downplaying “the implications of Brexit for the delicate peace process in Northern Ireland” in a 2021 article for the Texas National Security Review.
Alluding to comments about Irish beet growers, the ex-diplomat wrote: “A low point for me was when I heard a senior UK minister openly and aggressively dismissing the implications of a ‘no deal’ before a US audience. Brexit only affects Irish companies “a few farmers with turnips on the back of their trucks,” she wrote.
Her tweet comes as Ms Truss defended the controversial plan to suspend parts of the protocol and insisted action to deal with the “very serious” situation in the region cannot be delayed.
She told Times Radio: “We didn’t see that [Northern Ireland] Executive form since February. So we need to make these changes. And these changes will… make it better for everyone.”
The foreign secretary also pledged that the government would publish its legal position on her plan “very soon” as she insisted it was “legal” under international law.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday that the move not to apply parts of the protocol without an agreement with the EU was “not very respectful” of the British people.
Mr Varadkar pointed out that 59 of the 90 MLAs at the Stormont Assembly do not want to give up the protocol and the British public has voted in favor of the Brexit deal, which is currently in effect.
He told RTE: “If they keep trying to force things on Northern Ireland that Northern Ireland doesn’t want, that will drive more people towards nationalism and away from support for the Union… it just seems a bit confusing.”
Asked about potential EU retaliation and the possibility of a trade war, Mr Varadkar said Britain “must do something” before Brussels takes any action.
UK Environment Secretary George Eustice said speculation about a trade war was “deeply unhelpful” – blaming it on “media hype”.
The Cabinet minister claimed there was evidence of a “more measured tone” from Brussels, despite the EU Commission’s warning that it would take “all the measures at its disposal” if the UK changed the protocol without consent.
The Independent has reached out to the Foreign Office and Ms Truss’ office for comment.
https://www.independent.ie/business/brexit/liz-truss-said-only-irish-people-hit-by-brexit-would-be-a-few-farmers-with-turnips-ex-diplomat-claims-41664303.html Liz Truss said that only Irish people affected by Brexit are “a couple of beet farmers”, the ex-diplomat claims