Brexit: Lord Peter Hain reacts to attempts to change NI protocol
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The US President said via the White House on Monday that the UK and EU must return to talks over the Northern Ireland Protocol. A White House spokesman said “transatlantic peace, security, and prosperity are best served by a strong UK, a strong EU, and the closest possible relationship between the two”.
John Bolton, former National Security Adviser to Donald Trump, noted the Northern Ireland Protocol row is “essentially a trade issue, pragmatically resolvable as such issues normally are”.
He suggested that “the EU’s insistence on communitaire theology and its determination to punish the (UK) that has flatly told it to go pound sand” is causing the row.
Mr Bolton said: “EU high priests and their US acolytes conjure visions of hell if the UK abrogates any part of the Protocol as a ‘violation of international law.’
“This is surely the easiest argument to refute, but a very important one for America, whose real interests are completely opposite to Biden’s views.
“The most fundamental point is whether national law prevails over international law when the two conflict.
“In the United States, the number of politicians prepared to say that the Constitution and laws enacted thereunder are subordinate to international law is between few and none, for good reason…
“In all post-Brexit matters, people should get used to the idea that London owes Brussels no subservience. Manumission has been achieved.”
Biden has been called ‘clueless’ over his ‘absurd’ support for Ireland and the EU (Image: GETTY)
John Bolton said the Protocol row was caused by the EU’s ‘determination to punish’ Britain (Image: GETTY)
Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Bolton said, “Joe Biden’s clueless support for Ireland weakens the West” and suggested for some US officials, “the Good Friday Agreement involves not international theology but theological theology”.
He said: “Ironically, however, repudiating the Protocol makes preserving the Agreement more likely; quashing the EU’s harmful meddling will reduce the tensions it has improvidently raised.
“Dublin may prefer benefiting from EU leverage, but it is delusional to think that striving to weaken British internal unity is productive. The real question is whether the UK favours preserving its own cohesion or the EU’s.”
The former official then questioned what the US’ “true national interests” in Ireland are, saying “what Washington really needs strategically and politically is a strong UK” to help lead NATO and to reinvigorate the ‘special relationship’.
Bolton said ‘what Washington really needs strategically and politically is a strong UK’ (Image: GETTY)
‘The truth is that Biden-Pelosi Democrats never liked Brexit.’ (Image: PA)
Mr Bolton then said: “With all due respect, Ireland is not a NATO member. Even as Finland and Sweden apply for NATO membership, Ireland remains mute.
“That is certainly Ireland’s choice; so are the consequences. Instead, the White House recently lectured Downing Street that a dispute between London and Brussels risked upsetting Western unity over Ukraine, a claim as absurd as its predicate that the West today is really unified on Ukraine policy.”
He added: “With November’s congressional elections looming, Pelosi’s tenure as Speaker is dwindling rapidly, and with it her influence. By contrast, London has both the momentum and the right, which is why Brussels is increasingly frantic.“
Biden said the UK and EU must return to talks over the Northern Ireland Protocol (Image: EXPRESS)
On Monday, the White House also said the priority for the US remained protecting the Belfast Agreement and preserving peace, stability and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland.
It added: “We have welcomed the provisions in the EU-UK trade and co-operation agreement and the Northern Ireland protocol as a way to manage the practical challenges of preserving distinct EU and UK markets while preventing the return of customs infrastructure on the land border.
“We recognise there have been challenges over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol. We urge the UK and EU to return to talks to resolve these differences.
“We support a strong and close EU-UK partnership. Transatlantic peace, security, and prosperity are best served by a strong UK, a strong EU, and the closest possible relationship between the two.”
Conor Burns said ‘lived experience’ shows the need to ‘recalibrate’ the Protocol (Image: EXPRESS)
Meanwhile, Conor Burns, envoy of Boris Johnson to Washington on the Protocol, said the UK had signed up to its terms “in theory” when leaving the EU and when the post-departure regime was unclear.
Speaking in Washington on Monday he said: “We now have almost 18 months of lived experience of real data and real evidence of goods moving and we believe in the light of that lived experience that we need to recalibrate how the protocol is being interpreted and implemented.
“We have gone through [the] exhaustive process with the EU, trying to negotiate on how that protocol is changed and recalibrated and how the interpretation is reinterpreted.”