Friday, 12 Aug 2022

Brexit LIVE: Truss refuses to back down to Biden’s team – will not let ‘situation drag on’

Nancy Pelosi mocked by commentator over trade deal threat

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The Foreign Secretary met a bipartisan US congressional delegation led by top Democrat Richard Neal on Saturday. It came amid heightened tensions over the post-Brexit deal with the EU on Northern Ireland.

Washington is concerned tensions between London and Brussels might affect the Good Friday peace agreement if the Government presses ahead with its threat to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It is understood Ms Truss told the delegation she was “defending the Good Friday agreement” and not endangering it.

She is also believed to have said the protocol was having a severe impact and she could not let the “situation drag on” if the EU did not offer a reasonable solution.

The visit came after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the UK and EU to continue negotiations to maintain peace in the region.

Ms Pelosi said in a statement: “The Good Friday Accords are the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and a beacon of hope for the entire world.

“Ensuring there remains no physical border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is absolutely necessary for upholding this landmark agreement, which has transformed Northern Ireland.”

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Truss discusses UK’s ‘cast iron’ commitment to Good Friday Agreement

The Foreign Secretary said she discussed the UK’s “cast-iron commitment” to the Good Friday Agreement during a meeting with US politicians.

Liz Truss said it was “great” welcoming a bipartisan US congressional delegation led by top Democrat Richard Neal, with topics of conversation ranging from the peace treaty to “the importance of free trade” and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It comes amid heightened tensions over the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.

Mr Neal, the head of the powerful ways and means committee in the US house of representatives, also spoke with International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Saturday.

Accounts of the talks with the Cabinet ministers have been thin on detail, with only tweets as a guide to their discussions.

The visit from the delegation follows a warning from US house speaker Nancy Pelosi that congress will not support a free trade agreement with the UK if the Government persists with “deeply concerning” plans to “unilaterally discard” the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Ms Truss said of her meeting: “Great welcoming RepRichardNeal WaysMeansCmte with members of US Congress today … We discussed our cast-iron commitment to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, the importance of free trade and our condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

Ms Trevelyan said she was “delighted” to welcome the delegation to her department to discuss UK-US trade matters, as well as the situation in Ukraine, but made no explicit mention of post-Brexit tensions.

She tweeted: “Delighted to welcome RepRichardNeal RepKevinBrady and the US Ways & Means Committee delegation to tradegovuk to discuss trade, Ukraine, and watch the glorious rehearsals for Trooping the Colour #PlatinumJubilee”.

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