Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

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‘Keep nose out!’ Britons erupt as Joe Biden’s Brexit meddling could trigger ‘civil unrest’

4 min read

Jacob Rees-Mogg says ‘you cannot allow EU Northern Ireland’

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Lord David Trimble, the former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), has written to Joe Biden urging him to stop “political uncertainty” and damage to “the Northern Ireland economy” caused by post-Brexit trade compromises with the EU. The heavily debated Northern Ireland Protocol – a key element of the Brexit deal between the UK and EU – has seen customs checks imposed at the sea border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. But it has been branded a threat to the identity of unionists in Northern Ireland, who claim it creates the conditions for an “economic” united Ireland.

Jake Sullivan, the US President’s national security adviser, insisted the Protocol was “critical to ensuring that the spirit, promise and future of the Good Friday agreement is protected”.

However, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Trimble warned in his letter the Protocol damages trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and it subverts “the main safeguards” of the Good Friday Agreement.

During the G7 summit at the start of the summer, Mr Biden had warned the UK Prime Minister not to inflame tensions, but now it is evident Britons are becoming increasingly angry at what they perceive as meddling by the US President.

Reacting to our initial story, one Express.co.uk reader raged: “Biden needs to keep his nose out. Everything he touches turns to trash.”

A second furious person said: “Biden fully supports the EU, wants an EU army, wants a unified Ireland and wants to reverse Brexit.

“He wants our support but does not support us.

“Biden is dangerously incompetent as a world leader!”

Another reader added: “Biden has very little understanding of the Irish situation.

“His unwelcome intervention is an obvious attempt to protect the Irish American voting base in the USA.”

Mr Trimble has said in his personal letter to Mr Biden: “The Northern Ireland Protocol has not only subverted the main safeguards within the Belfast Agreement causing civil unrest and political uncertainty, but it is also damaging the Northern Ireland economy disrupting supply chains, inflating prices and diverting trade from our main market in Great Britain.

“At the heart of the Belfast Agreement is consent.

“This means there can be no change to the constitutional position of NI as part of the UK without the agreement of a majority of the people of the country.

“But the Northern Ireland Protocol, by giving the EU powers over the movement of goods into and out of the Province, has torpedoed the ‘consent’ principle.

“It also risks a return to sectarian strife.

“The NIP totally destroyed this consent principle to the detriment of the unionist community.”

The former UUP leader also argued this “monumental constitutional change has been imposed on the people of NI without seeking their consent”, claiming it was “against the manifest opposition of every unionist party and politician in NI”.

He added: “The result has been political unrest and violence and threats of further violence on our streets because the political promises of the Belfast Agreement have been flippantly dismissed through the NIP.”

On Monday, the UK’s Brexit minister said Britain plans to extend post-Brexit grace periods on some goods imports to Northern Ireland. This would provide London and Brussels with more time to find a long-term resolution on trade with the province.

A trade deal between the two sides came into force on December 31, 2020, and saw Britain agree to leave certain EU rules in place in Northern Ireland -and accept checks on goods arriving there from elsewhere in the UK.

Lord Frost said in a statement to Parliament: “The Government proposed to the EU on July 23 a ‘standstill’ arrangement to maintain the operation of the protocol on the current basis, and to pause current legal actions, to provide space for discussions on those proposals.

“The EU announced on July 27 that it was not, at that stage, moving to the next stage of the legal proceedings it started in March.

“There have since been initial technical talks between the UK and the EU.

“These will continue in order to determine whether a constructive process can be established for discussing and addressing the issues identified with the protocol.

“Following on from this, to provide space for potential further discussions, and to give certainty and stability to businesses while any such discussions proceed, the Government will continue to operate the protocol on the current basis.

“This includes the grace periods and easements currently in force.”

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