The US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has warned that unilateral UK legislation affecting the Northern Ireland protocol could endanger British prospe
The US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has warned that unilateral UK legislation affecting the Northern Ireland protocol could endanger British prospects for a free trade deal with the US. Ms Pelosi’s bluntly worded intervention came two days after the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, confirmed that the Government was planning to table legislation that would nullify parts of the protocol by exempting some goods moving between Great Britain and Ireland from EU customs checks.
Ms Pelosi made clear that she viewed the protocol as essential to maintaining the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement which minimised border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Calling her a “big bully”, American journalist Kinsley Schofield told Mark Dolan on Saturday night: “We have elections coming up in November so big bully Nancy Pelosi is running her mouth off to try to ensure that Democrats stay in control.
“If I were in your position, I would be irritated by this because who is she to talk about it? It’s as petty as Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, they have some Irish in their blood, and they are gonna step up because they want those votes.
“I mean it’s seriously as petty as that. This is a difficult situation but it’s honestly not really a topic of conversation here in the states.
“She is actually in the headlines today because the archbishop and St Francisco have said that he is not going to allow her to take communion because of her stance on abortion and that’s how she has stolen the headlines. I think this is the case of Nancy Pelosi being a bully.”
The Northern Ireland protocol was the outcome of negotiations with the EU on how to keep the frictionless border between the Irelands and maintain EU customs boundaries after Brexit.
The Speaker said in a written statement: “As I have stated in my conversations with the Prime Minister, the foreign secretary and members of the House of Commons, if the United Kingdom chooses to undermine the Good Friday accords, the Congress cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.”
The EU has already warned of a potential trade war if the UK moves ahead with its legislation.
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The warning follows a visit to Washington by the Prime Minister’s newly appointed special envoy for the Northern Ireland protocol in the US, Conor Burns, to explain the UK position to the Biden administration and to Congress, which is to blame the EU for inflexibility.
US officials were irritated, however, that Mr Burns, having emphasised his close personal relationship with Boris Johnson, had not warned them that the PM was about to visit Northern Ireland.
Mr Burns assured them that no decisions had been made on whether to pursue new legislation, days before Truss made her announcement.
Pelosi wrote on Thursday evening: “Respectful of the will of the British people and of Brexit, I urge constructive, collaborative and good-faith negotiations to implement an agreement that upholds peace.
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