US Democrats wade into row over Brexit deal: Nancy Pelosi backs the EU and Ireland and warns they will veto a trade deal with Britain if Boris Johnson breaks the law and overrides Withdrawal Agreement
- Pelosi says there is ‘no chance’ of trade deal with UK if Brexit deal is overridden
- She said Good Friday Agreement is the ‘bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland’
- Her comments come after the PM caught the EU by surprise by unveiling plans to override key elements of the Brexit deal regarding Northern Ireland
The US House of Representatives Speaker is threatening that there will be ‘absolutely no chance’ of a trade deal with Britain if Boris Johnson overrides the Brexit deal with Brussels.
Nancy Pelosi, a prominent Democrat, said that the American Congress would never pass an economic agreement that it felt could ‘imperil’ the Northern Ireland peace accord.
The comments come after the Prime Minister caught the EU by surprise by unveiling plans to override key elements of the Brexit deal regarding Northern Ireland.
Ministers have admitted that the proposed Internal Market Bill will breach international law.
In a statement on Wednesday, Ms Pelosi said: ‘The Good Friday Agreement is the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and an inspiration for the whole world.
Nancy Pelosi, a prominent Democrat, said that the American Congress would never pass an economic agreement that it felt could ‘imperil’ the Northern Ireland peace accord
‘Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the stability brought by the invisible and frictionless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.
Brussels threatened to make food exports from Great Britain to Northern Ireland illegal
Michel Barnier’s team made threats to make food exports from Great Britain to Northern Ireland illegal if the UK did not bow to their trade deal demands, it emerged today.
The chief negotiator’s warning prompted the government to make legal changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, according to the Sun.
Under the deal, the export of products of animal origin, including meat, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland will be subject to EU oversight.
After Brussels warned the UK might not be on an approved list in the event of a No Deal, ministers demanded new domestic legislation in the Withdrawal Agreement, to avoid exports being made illegal.
‘The UK must respect the Northern Ireland Protocol as signed with the EU to ensure the free flow of goods across the border.
‘If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress.
‘The Good Friday Agreement is treasured by the American people and will be proudly defended in the United States Congress.’
Ministers argue the new proposed legislation is necessary to protect the Northern Ireland peace process if London and Brussels are unable to agree a free trade deal before the current Brexit transition period runs out at the end of the year.
Mr Johnson discussed the proposed legislation with Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin on Wednesday by telephone.
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major took aim at Boris Johnson’s plans to override parts of the Brexit divorce deal as he warned the UK’s global reputation as a trustworthy nation is at stake.
He joined Theresa May in criticising the current Tory occupant of Downing Street as he said the UK’s signature on treaties has long been viewed as ‘sacrosanct’.
Any move to row back on what was agreed between Brussels and Britain last year would mean losing ‘something beyond price that may never be regained’, he said.
The former premier’s intervention came after Mr Johnson insisted he was doing his ‘duty’ as he faced a growing Tory mutiny for threatening to renege on the Brexit accord.
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major today took aim at Boris Johnson’s plans to override parts of the Brexit divorce deal as he warned the UK’s global reputation as a trustworthy nation is at stake
Legislation published this week would unilaterally decide details that Brussels insists must be settled by a joint committee, including customs arrangements between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis sparked outrage by bluntly admitting that the measures will breach international law.
European commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned that the move would undermine ‘prosperous future relations’.
But Downing Street extraordinarily claimed that the Withdrawal Agreement was ‘not like any other treaty’ because it was sealed ‘at pace in the most challenging possible political circumstances’.
And Mr Johnson told the Commons that his first responsibility was to protect the Peace Process.
‘My job is to uphold the integrity of the UK but also to protect the Northern Irish peace process and the Good Friday Agreement,’ the PM said.
‘To do that we need a legal safety net to protect our country against extreme or irrational interpretations of the protocol, which could lead to a border down the Irish Sea in a way that I believe – and I think members around the House believe – would be prejudicial to the interests of the Good Friday Agreement and prejudicial to the interests of peace in our country. That has to be our priority.’
Former UK ambassador Lord Darroch said he suspected Boris Johnson was trying to ‘create chaos’ so he could extract better terms, and there was an ‘aspect of the way Donald Trump would have done it’ (PM and US president are pictured together last September’
The UK’s former ambassador to the US has waded into the row by suggesting that the dramatic step is a Trump-style bid to get a better deal in post-Brexit trade negotiations, which are at a critical stage.
Lord Darroch said he suspected Mr Johnson was trying to ‘create chaos’ so he could extract better terms, and there was an ‘aspect of the way Donald Trump would have done it’.
Meanwhile, David Melding, a Welsh Conservative politician, quit the Tory frontbench in the Senedd over concerns about the PM’s approach to Brexit.
Sir John said in a statement that Mr Johnson’s plans could cost the UK its ‘reputation for honouring the promises we make’.
The former PM said: ‘For generations, Britain’s word – solemnly given – has been accepted by friend and foe. Our signature on any treaty or agreement has been sacrosanct.
‘Over the last century, as our military strength has dwindled, our word has retained its power.
‘If we lose our reputation for honouring the promises we make, we will have lost something beyond price that may never be regained.’
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