UK isolated over Northern Ireland Protocol as US-EU alliance rules out renegotiation

The UK’s isolation over its plans to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol has been underscored by a new US-EU alliance barring renegotiation.

A delegation of US politicians, led by a close ally of Joe Biden, agreed on a joint statement with members of the European Parliament after meeting in Paris.

It calls on Boris Johnson to abandon proposed legislation to repeal the international agreement, arguing that the protocol “protects the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts”.

In a press release after the interparliamentary meeting, Congressman Brendan Boyle announced that a joint statement had been reached, stating, “We agree that renegotiating the protocol is not an option.”

This latest development comes just hours after Liz Truss, the Secretary of State, resisted pressure to back down after receiving the US delegation at her country home in Chevening on Saturday.

In stark contrast, she is said to have insisted Britain “defend the Good Friday Agreement” – not jeopardize it – and warned she would not “prolong the situation”.

The crisis threatens to provoke an extremely damaging trade war if the EU carries out its threat to retaliate for what it sees as a breach of the deal the PM signed in 2019 and hailed as “fantastic”.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, has also warned that a unilateral rewrite of the protocol will wipe out any remaining UK hopes for a free trade deal with the United States.

The UK argues that legislation is needed to abolish trade border controls in the Irish Sea and persuade the Democratic Unionist Party to halt efforts to block the formation of a new power-sharing executive at Stormont.

It goes much further than customs controls, however, as it includes measures targeting the role of the European Court of Justice in overseeing disputes and aiming to restore the UK’s prerogative to decide VAT rates.

The EU insists it has put forward proposals to reduce the burden of inspections, noting the UK’s refusal to sign common veterinary legislation that would cut much of the red tape.

Last week the Prime Minister admitted he had endorsed the trade barriers created by the Northern Ireland Protocol while hoping the EU would not ‘apply’ them.

The bill has not yet been published but is expected to be published within weeks – and could be voted on in the House of Commons as early as next month.

The US delegation will be led by Richard Neal, a senior Democratic Party member in the House of Representatives, who described talks with Ms Truss as “candid”.

He tweeted: “I call for good faith negotiations with the EU to find lasting solutions to post-Brexit trade between the UK and Northern Ireland.”

Ms Truss wrote: “We’ve discussed our cast-iron commitment to Belfast [Good Friday] Agreements, the importance of free trade and our condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.” UK isolated over Northern Ireland Protocol as US-EU alliance rules out renegotiation

Bobby Allyn

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