Brexiteer demands Biden open his eyes to hated Brexit deal
Liz Truss takes ‘strong-armed’ approach to US trade deal
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A Brexiteer has demanded Joe Biden acknowledge the flaws of the Northern Ireland Protocol and appealed to maintaining the Good Friday Agreement which he says both the US President and the UK support. The White House reported that Mr Biden will tell PM Liz Truss that she must work with the EU to reach a negotiated outcome on the protocol when they meet today.
The Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol has proven a contentious issue in post-Brexit negotiations with the EU, with Ms Truss threatening to unilaterally rip up parts of the deal during her tenure as foreign secretary.
Urging for unity between Ms Truss and Mr Biden, Tory MP John Redwood said: “The President of the USA needs to understand that the NI Protocol is undermining the Good Friday Agreement that he and the UK support. He should help us restore GB to NI trade and respect the UK’s internal market.”
The NI Protocol functions by allowing goods to travel freely over the border between NI and the Republic of Ireland, in order to preserve the terms of the highly sensitive Good Friday Agreement. However, there are still checks on goods entering NI from Great Britain, effectively creating a border within the United Kingdom, in the Irish Sea.
This border was something Boris Johnson promised voters would only happen “over [his] dead body” in 2019 – before signing it into law as part of his Brexit deal in 2020. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Mr Biden will discuss the protocol “in some detail” during his meeting with Ms Truss.
He said the president “will encourage the UK and the European Union to work out an effective outcome that ensures there is no threat to the fundamental principles of the Good Friday Agreement”.
Mr Sullivan added: “And he will speak in some detail to her about that”.
He said Mr Biden will “communicate his strong view that the Good Friday Agreement – which is the touchstone of peace and stability in Northern Ireland – must be protected. And we must collectively take steps – the US, the UK, the parties in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland – to ensure that it is protected”.
The UK is seeking to remove the physical checks on farm produce and other goods that are part of the current form of the Brexit deal. The NI Protocol Bill is currently in its second reading in the House of Lords, having successfully passed through the House of Commons.
If it is passed fully, it will enable the UK to tear up part of the NI Protocol. The EU and other critics say it will breach international law by effectively ditching key parts of the Brexit deal signed by Boris Johnson and the EU in 2019.
It was originally tabled by Ms Truss this summer. The Bill threatens to further escalate tensions between the EU – and given Mr Biden’s increasingly apparent stance on how the NI Protocol should be handled, potentially with the US as well.
Lord Darroch, who served as the UK ambassador to the US under Ms Truss’ three predecessors, told Sky News it is “stone cold certain” that the lack of progress in striking a free trade deal with the US is related to that.
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He said: “The Democrat administration have made this clear in briefings, there is going to be no trade deal unless we can sort out the protocol in a way that the EU and particularly the Irish government is happy with, and no unilateral rewriting of it.”
Anglo-American relations have also been somewhat soured ahead of Ms Truss’ meeting with Mr Biden today following a tweet in which the US President criticised the economic policy being pursued by the new PM. Mr Biden said he was “sick and tired of trickle-down economics” and claimed “it has never worked”.
While the criticism was likely not aimed directly at Ms Truss, it serves as a damning assessment of the way many have described Ms Truss’ strategy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the “challenges posed by” China, the energy crisis and the “economic relationship between the US and the UK” were also billed for today’s meeting.
Ms Truss told reporters on Tuesday: “There aren’t currently any negotiations taking place with the US and I don’t have an expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term.”
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