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US Congress to intervene in Northern Ireland Protocol amid tensions – ‘it needs to go!'

NewsUS Congress to intervene in Northern Ireland Protocol amid tensions - ‘it needs to go!'

The concern over the new protocol has reached the doors of the White House, pushing the US authorities to step forward. The delegation will be headed by the influential chair of the ways and means committee, Richie Neal, which has significant power over future trade deals.

The UK Government has hinted that it may scrap parts of a Brexit deal with the European Union.

Nile Gardiner, former aide to Margaret Thatcher said: “Excellent. The Northern Ireland Protocol needs to go. Boris Johnson can rip up Northern Ireland protocol, attorney-general rules.”

Arrangements are being made for at least half a dozen representatives from the US Congress to fly to Europe for a series of meetings in Brussels, Dublin, London and Belfast, according to reports.

Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has previously said the US intends to appoint its own envoy to Northern Ireland.

The Guardian reported that the delegation is likely to underline President Biden’s commitment to defending the Good Friday agreement and the US’s role as a guarantor.

He has repeatedly emphasised how integral the protocol is to maintaining peace and stability.

A White House spokesman said of the UK’s dispute with the EU: “The best path forward is a pragmatic one that requires courage, co-operation and leadership.”

Boris Johnson is expected to give a speech as soon as Monday on the future of the protocol after exchanges between the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, and the European Commission vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, which a UK source described as “tetchy”.

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The Northern Ireland Protocol – which requires checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK – has been a source of tension since it came into force at the start of 2021.

The European Union (EU) has warned that if the UK takes action it could retaliate by introducing trade sanctions.

Special arrangements were needed for Northern Ireland after the UK voted for Brexit in 2016.

This is because it is the only part of the UK with a land border with an EU country – the Republic of Ireland.

Before Brexit, it was easy to transport goods across this border because both sides automatically followed the same EU trade rules, so no checks or paperwork were necessary.

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After Brexit, a new system was needed because the EU has strict food rules and requires border checks when certain goods, such as milk and eggs, arrive from non-EU countries.

The border is also a sensitive issue because of Northern Ireland’s troubled political history.

It was feared that cameras or border posts could become a target and lead to instability.

The UK and the EU agreed that protecting the 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal – the Good Friday Agreement – was an absolute priority.

So, they agreed to the Northern Ireland Protocol as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, which is now part of international law.

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