‘Undemocratic’ EU will not ‘ease burden’ of hated Brexit deal – UK at risk, says Frost

EU hits out at Lord Frost's Northern Ireland demands

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Hitting out the bloc, the former Brexit Minister said the “ways in which EU laws are applied in Northern Ireland” are “undemocratic”. But, in the piece for the Financial Times, he said: “What Brussels has put on the table does not do enough to ease the burdens or cover the full range of problems faced by people in Northern Ireland.”

He added that a Protocol “that was meant to support the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement is now undermining it”, something which is putting Northern Ireland’s Institutions at “serious risk”.

This comes just three days after Lord Frost handed in his resignation from his role as Brexit Minister, citing “concerns about the current direction of travel” of the UK Government.

In his letter of resignation, Lord Frost said it was the introduction of plan B coronavirus measures, including the implementation of Covid passes, that prompted his decision.

He also said he had become disillusioned by tax rises and the cost of net zero policies.

Before he resigned, Lord Frost had been locked in talks with his counterpart in Brussels, Maros Sefcovic, since October in an attempt to resolve the Northern Ireland Protocol.

But the Brexit negotiator claimed the UK has “not made enough progress on the Northern Ireland protocol”.

For the FT, Lord Frost wrote: “Unfortunately we have not managed to make as much progress as I would have wished.

“With the exception of medicines, where we will look carefully and positively at the EU’s proposals now we have them, what Brussels has put on the table does not do enough to ease the burdens or cover the full range of problems faced by people in Northern Ireland.”

Last week, the EU announced proposals to ease the flow of medicines from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.

But the EU and the UK are still in disagreement over the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) role in policing the Protocol, something which Lord Frost was strongly opposed to.

The former Brexit Minister also said that, while he would prefer an agreed solution, Article 16 should still be triggered if necessary.

He said: “As long as there is no agreed solution, Article 16 safeguards remain on the table.

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“They may turn out to be the only way of dealing with the problems.

“But it is still better to find a negotiated way through if we can.”

Following his resignation, it was announced Liz Truss would take over his brief as Brexit Minister.

After her first call with Mr Sefcovic earlier today, Ms Truss reiterated many of Lord Frost’s points in a statement, saying: “The UK position has not changed.

“We need goods to flow freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, end the role of the ECJ as the final arbiter of disputes between us, and resolve other issues.

“We must pick up the pace on talks in the New Year. Our preference remains to reach an agreed solution.

“If this does not happen, we are prepared to trigger Article 16 safeguards to deal with the very real problems faced in Northern Ireland and to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions.”

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