US President Joe Biden has waded into the row over Britain ‘giving up’ on talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol, calling for leadership and negotiations.
Earlier this week it was reported that the British government will move to discard large portions of the Northern Ireland Protocol after giving up on Brexit negotiations with the EU.
The Times reported officials working for foreign secretary Liz Truss have drawn up draft legislation to unilaterally remove the need for checks on all goods being sent from Britain for use in Northern Ireland.
On Wednesday, the same newspaper reported that the White House had urged Boris Johnson to show ‘leadership’ on the issue, and think again.
“The best path forward is a pragmatic one that requires courage, co-operation and leadership,” a spokeswoman for the White House told the Times.
“We urge the parties to continue engaging in dialogue to resolve differences and bring negotiations to a successful conclusion.”
A FCDO Spokesperson said: “Our focus has been, and will continue to be, preserving peace and stability in Northern Ireland.
“No decisions have yet been taken on the way forward however the situation is now very serious.
“We have always been clear that action will be taken to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement if solutions cannot be found to fix the Protocol.”
Joe Biden has Irish Catholic heritage, and expressed a desire to visit the country again this summer.
The law would also ensure businesses in Northern Ireland are able to disregard EU rules and regulations and remove the power of the European Court of Justice to rule on issues relating to the region, the paper said.
Importantly, the bill would override the protocol agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2019 and mean the UK had breached its obligations under the Brexit agreement.
On Tuesday night, the Guardian reported that Brussels officials were “flabbergasted” by the move. It said one EU diplomat described Truss’ s threat of “unilateral” action on the protocol as “very risky, even irresponsible”.
They also suggested it would “only worsen the standing of the west as a whole vis-a-vis Putin in these fragile times.”