Brexit LIVE: EU holds 'secret talks' behind Boris Johnson's back over hated deal

The protocol was agreed by the UK and EU as a way to maintain a free-flowing land border on the island of Ireland after Brexit. But Unionists in Northern Ireland have been vehemently opposed to the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which sees additional checks on goods arriving into the region from the rest of the UK.

Negotiations are ongoing between both sides in a bid to reach a solution but without little movement. 

It emerged this morning however that leading Commission members had “back channel” telephone discussions with people outside of political parties in Northern Ireland.

These people, sources familiar with the talks say, believe can play an influential role in unblocking the current impasse.

One EU insider added to the Irish Independent: “The protocol is here to stay and the unionist parties need to realise that.”


“Many of the concerns they have can be sorted out but unionists need to start looking more toward the Irish government to help them.

“The British government and Boris Johnson have shown they are not interested in helping unionism or addressing their concerns. 

“The Commission wants to get the message across to unionists that they want to solve this problem.”

It comes after the leaders of Northern Ireland’s four main unionist parties signed a joint declaration in opposition to the protocol on Tuesday.

The declaration is signed by DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, UUP leader Doug Beattie, TUV leader Jim Allister and PUP leader Billy Hutchinson.


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