Nancy Pelosi comments are ‘unhelpful’ says Arlene Foster
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London and Brussels are failing to reach an agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol following months of stalling talks. The United States recently waded into the row, openly backing the EU and urging UK negotiators to pick up their act.
Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said American leaders should “get out of British constitutional matters”.
He told Express.co.uk “as close an ally as it is, the US takes the UK for granted”.
This, Mr Habib added, meant the country “often treats us callously and thinks little of undermining our interests”.
Leading democrat Nancy Pelosi last week insisted the Joe Biden administration would reject the possibility of a UK-US free trade deal if the Protocol is torn up.
The House of Representatives Speaker said: “It is deeply concerning that the UK is now seeking to unilaterally discard the Protocol.
“Negotiated agreements like the Protocol preserve the important progress and stability forged by the Good Friday Accords… If the UK chooses to undermine the Good Friday Accords, the Congress cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the UK.”
Mr Habib dismissed the threat as an “economic bone” the UK should take no interest in biting.
He said: “[Mrs Pelosi is] hanging out a trade deal as a carrot in her effort to induce us to bow to the Republic of Ireland.
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“Does she really think we would give up the integrity of our country in the hope the US might throw us an economic bone?”
The businessman also jibed that Mrs Pelosi should “do her homework” on the Protocol, which he suggested she cannot properly understand, and stop “trying to sell us the snake oil of a trade deal”.
He told Express.co.uk: “A trade deal for the UK with the US is a near impossibility for as long as the Protocol exists because Northern Ireland is stuck in the EU’s Single Market for goods. Great Britain might be able to do some sort of the deal, but the UK, as a whole, could not.
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“It is this unequal footing on which the Protocol puts British citizens in Northern Ireland that has broken the Acts of union and our United Kingdom. It is precisely because the whole of the UK cannot do a trade deal with the US, that the Protocol must go.”
The Good Friday Agreement which Mrs Pelosi signalled she was determined to protect was also “undermined” by the Protocol, Mr Habib added.
Senior US Congressman Richard Neal has also stressed the onus is on the UK, not the EU, to resolve the Protocol row.
He argued: “What we’ve heard so far, clearly from the European Union, is they want to find a solution.
“So, I think now it’s up to London to help us all find a solution.”
Mr Habib said this was typical of a US official generally, but of a Democrat political more specifically.
He drew attention to the comments of then President Barack Obama who, ahead of the 2016 referendum, said Brexit would put the UK at the “back of the queue” for trade talks.
The former MEP translated this as signalling that the US would “would punish us for exercising our democratic rights as a sovereign nation”.
The latest comments come after Liz Truss, who is leading negotiations for the UK, told MPs the Government is drafting legislation to rip up the Protocol.
She said this would help clear up issues relating to the deal, including its requirement that goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (that is, from one part of the UK to another) must undergo checks.
The Foreign Secretary stressed, however, that its “preference” remained the establishment of a “negotiated solution” with the Brussels bloc.
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