Joe Biden ally Nancy Pelosi has once again intervened in a Brexit row despite hopes of a resolution between the UK and EU. The Speaker of the US House of Representatives flew to Ireland to hold talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
She landed at Shannon Airport yesterday to hold a meeting with US Ambassador Claire Cronin.
The Democrat used the talks to once again warn the UK against taking unilateral action to resolve a row over Brexit customs checks imposed on goods crossing the Irish Sea.
Under the terms of the Protocol in the 2019 EU withdrawal agreement, checks must take place on most goods travelling to the province from Great Britain in order to prevent a border on the island of Ireland.
Unionists warn the deal has undermined Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.
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Ms Cronin said she had discussed “the importance of the UK and EU reaching a negotiated solution on the Northern Ireland Protocol” with Ms Pelosi.
She added: “A resolution would be a net win for the region’s economy and political stability in the long-term – for all its communities.”
The latest intervention warning the UK to reach an agreement with Brussels comes despite hopes over the past fortnight that both sides can find a compromise.
Last week European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said Brussels was ready to slash the number of checks taking place on goods crossing from the mainland to Northern Ireland to just a few lorries a day.
He claimed under his proposals the trade border that has effectively been imposed down the Irish Sea would be “invisible”.
“If the data are downloaded into the system, when the goods are put on the ferry from Britain… I believe that we can remotely process them while sailing to Northern Ireland,” Mr Sefcovic told the Financial Times.
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“It could be resolved very, very quickly if we get the input from our UK counterparts.”
At the same time, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told the King that he was optimistic matters would “progress”.
The US has repeatedly intervened in Brexit since Mr Biden became President, issuing a series of threats to the UK.
It has warned it will not sign a trade deal with Britain if the Good Friday Agreement is put at risk.
But last night Prime Minister Liz Truss put a trade deal with Washington on the back burner to stop it from being used against Britain.
She told reporters: “There aren’t currently any negotiations taking place with the US and I don’t have an expectation that those are going to start in the short to medium term.”
Ms Truss is set to meet the President tomorrow for talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
She said: “The number one issue is global security and making sure that we are able to collectively deal with Russian aggression and ensuring that Ukraine prevails and that Putin doesn’t have success in Ukraine.”