Brexit: Simon Coveney shut down by host on UK-US trade deal
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The message was made to Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis as he jetted off to Washington with crunch talks with top officials, Republicans and Democrats. The Protocol is intended to ensure the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic stays open while protecting the single market, which the region remains a part of.
However, the need for checks on goods crossing to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK has led to growing tensions both within the region and between London and Brussels.
Senators and former ambassadors on the United States Congress Ad Hoc Committee to Protect the Good Friday Agreement who met with Mr Lewis said the meeting was “cordial and candid” on Monday.
Former US Congressman Bruce Morrison, who is the co-chair of the committee, said members made clear that outstanding issues with the protocol should be resolved between the UK and EU.
Meanwhile, majority leaders from across the United States travelled to Ireland to re-affirm their support for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
US politicians worked with Irish counterparts to set up the American Irish State Legislators Caucus took place in a bid to promote economic and political links between Washington and Dublin.
Promoting the importance of the agreement is the heart of the new group’s aims, which US politicians argue is underpinned by the Protocol.
It comes as White House officials said they were “closely watching” events surrounding Northern Ireland this week.
The Biden administration also warned they were “seriously concerned” over a pledge by the UK to tear up the deal.
The UK Government is threatening to take what is seen to be the “nuclear option” of triggering Article 16 of the Protocol.
Speaking on Tuesday, Cabinet Office Minister Stephen Barclay said the UK needed a Northern Ireland protocol that is “sustainable in the long term”.
He told Sky News Britain wanted changes to the Protocol so it is accepted by “both communities there”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson also warned the deal needed new governance arrangements.
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The spokesperson added: “Without new arrangements on governance the protocol will never have the support it needs to survive.”
Downing Street also echoed Lord Frost’s demands for changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol concerning the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The spokesperson added: “It’s simply not sustainable for the EU to make laws that apply in Northern Ireland without democratic scrutiny.”
They stressed removing ECJ oversight of Northern Ireland’s trading arrangements was “core to what we think needs to be addressed”.
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