Brexit deal on the verge of collapse: Lord Frost delivers a warning to the EU as tensions reach new lows
LORD FROST has warned of a breakdown in Brexit negotiations with the EU, stating that the UK is prepared to pull up the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Brexit minister cautioned that the UK was making little headway in talks with Brussels regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol’s difficulties. Britain has complained that bureaucratic curbs on cross-Irish Sea trade imposed as part of the divorce agreement are harming the UK’s internal market.
The implementation of a series of customs checks has been delayed until the end of September while the two parties work out answers to the issues that have arisen.
However, Lord Frost, who gave evidence to a House of Lords committee this afternoon, presented a dismal picture of the negotiations’ progress.
“I believe it is safe to state that the unsolved issues have at least 20 separate strands. “Some of them are extremely basic,” he explained.
“There’s a large list of them, and I think it’s fair to say we haven’t made nearly as much progress on any of them as we would like.”
The minister told peers on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Sub-Committee that the EU is unwilling to engage with the UK in finding a solution.
“The trouble is that the EU does not want to work on the type of agreement we are proposing right now,” he said.
“Maro efovi lately, if not last week, reiterated that the Swiss-style alignment agreement was the best way ahead.
“That’s the issue; there are two opposing viewpoints.”
Most customs checks, according to the EU, might be eliminated if the UK decides to voluntarily obey Brussels’ regulations.
The United Kingdom has maintained that both parties should agree that their legislation and food standards are close enough that formal alignment is unnecessary.
Lord Frost warned that the people of Northern Ireland will have a vote in four years on whether or not the Protocol should be scrapped, criticizing the EU for constantly insisting there was no option.
“There are alternatives,” he cautioned the European Commission, “and I think the EU should be careful when they declare there are no alternatives to the Protocol because it suggests the Protocol’s consent vote is meaningless.”
“What is the point of that vote if there is no alternative to the Protocol?”
“It is self-evident that there are alternatives.”
Lord Frost’s “Brinkwire Summary News” will be published next week.