Liz Truss warns EU leaders Ireland ‘borders row must not drift’

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The Foreign Secretary urged a rapid solution and pledged to remove “customs bureaucracy” whilst also protecting the EU single market. She has given notice of tabling legislation at Westminster that would override parts of the Northern Ireland protocol without the approval of the EU. The move came as the powersharing impasse continues at Stormont, created by the DUP’s refusal to agree to form a devolved executive after the Assembly election until the Irish Sea “border” is removed.

On a visit to Lisburn, Co Antrim, the Foreign Secretary said: “I am in Northern Ireland to talk about our solution on customs, putting in place a red and green lane to make sure that we remove customs bureaucracy for those goods that are travelling from Great Britain into Northern Ireland, so we can restore the balance between the communities and restore the working of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

“We have had months of negotiations with the EU and our preference remains a negotiated solution but what we cannot allow is for this situation to drift.

“We do have difficulties with companies… an issue with costs, there is an issue with communities not feeling respected in Northern Ireland. The protocol is causing political instability.”

Ms Truss added: “We are not talking about scrapping the protocol, what we are talking about is fixing the issues so we can protect north-south trade whilst at the same time making east-west trade easier.”

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