Lord Frost: Northern Ireland Protocol negotiated with the EU puts safety of Good Friday Agreement at risk
The European Union is putting the safety of the Good Friday deal at risk by refusing to change their position on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Lord Frost, Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiator has said.
Lord Frost accused “poisonous politics” in late 2020 and 2021 of undermining the original Protocol, which he himself helped negotiate.
In the foreword to a report in Policy Exchange, Lord Frost said: “The Protocol that emerged was an unsatisfactory and delicate balance… the circumstances (in which it could have operated successfully) were rapidly destroyed by poisonous politics.”
He said: “Although the EU’s mandate and indeed the Protocol itself prioritise support of the Agreement, the actually existing arrangements do not.”
Lord Frost insisted the rules, which govern the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, were the “best available way through at the time” in order to respect the Brexit referendum.
In order to agree a deal which would maintain the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement, the UK government was now beholden to “the goodwill” of the trading bloc.
The EU took a simplistic “Irish” understanding of the Good Friday Agreement, according to the report, focusing only on one aspect and ignoring the importance of Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.
The report says the protocol in its current form “doesn’t work operationally, as even the EU admits, but has also failed politically.”
The Stormont Assembly in Northern Ireland is facing the prospect of fresh elections as a result of the political impasse. The unionists refuse to engage in the political process until changes are made to the protocol.