Boris braces for Brexit showdown with Ireland –Taoiseach jets to UK for urgent talks TODAY

Northern Ireland has been 'stitched up' by EU says Bridgen

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The Prime Minister will meet with the leader of the Republic of Ireland at the Buckinghamshire mansion over lunch. Discussions will focus on difficulties in Northern Ireland over the implementation of the Brexit deal.

Violence has broken out in the province in recent weeks, with unionists angry at the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

They accuse the introduction of customs checks on goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland of placing a border through the United Kingdom.

Last month there were calls for Mr Johnson and Mr Martin to meet to try and de-escalate the situation.

Confirming the meeting taking place today, a spokesman for the Taoiseach said: “The lunchtime meeting, which was scheduled some time ago, is expected to cover the response to COVID-19, a range of issues relevant to peace and stability in Northern Ireland and the broader British-Irish relationship.”

There have been fears the outbreaks of violence risk placing strains on the peace that has largely held in Northern Ireland since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Tensions between the UK and EU over Brexit escalated earlier this year when Britain unilaterally extended the grace period on the introduction of some goods for a further six months.

Ministers said the decision was “temporary and necessary” to prevent problems in trade to Northern Ireland.

The EU has launched legal action against the UK for the decision, saying it breaks the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Eurocrats insist the Protocol must be implemented in full.

Mr Johnson will be hoping to use the meeting to help get the Irish premier to persuade the EU that the Protocol cannot last in its current form.

Mr Martin has previously admitted the implementation of the Brexit deal must be handled “sensitively” and said both sides needed to be “creative” about finding a solution.

Addressing unionist concerns about customs checks on goods entering Northern Ireland following the violence, he said: “On one level the threat to the single market perhaps isn’t as some might suggest it is, in terms of goods going from the UK into Northern Ireland, on the other hand there are real issues there in terms of how trade is conducted once the UK left the European Union.”

Last month he also called for a “reset” in relations between Britain and Brussels to find a way forward.

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“I think we need to reset the relationship.

“I’ve made it very clear to our European Union partners that the British-Irish relationship is a unique one, historically rooted,” he told the Financial Times.

“We’re both joint custodians of the Good Friday Agreement and nothing can come between us in respect of making sure that we work constructively together.

“That’s our aim and our objective as a Government – to maintain a constructive relationship with Britain.”

Chequers is often used by Prime Ministers to host foreign leaders and visiting dignitaries for meetings.

Gifted to the Government in 1921, the official residence has also been used to host away days for the Cabinet.

Notably, it was where Theresa May convened her ministers in 2018 to agree on her Brexit deal proposals.

The so-called “Chequers plan” faced intense backlash from those who supported Leave and led to Mr Johnson’s resignation as Foreign Secretary.

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