Brexit Minister Lord Frost accuses EU of ignoring sensitivities in Northern Ireland and destroying ‘cross-community consent’ | UK News
Brexit Minister Lord Frost said the European Union had behaved “without taking into account the enormous political, economic and identity sensitivities” in Northern Ireland.
The Cabinet Office Minister and former Chief Negotiator of Brexit also condemned the EU to destroy the “intercommunity consent” with an “too strict” application of the North Ireland Protocol.
His comments were published in the foreword to a new paper for the Policy Exchange think tank that explains how negotiations in the Brexit processes were hampered by decisions made in 2017.
It comes after the UK and the EU put forward proposals to settle the dispute over the protocol, in which it negotiated.
The protocol is a key part of the Brexit deal between London and Brussels and is designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Northern Ireland is effectively kept in the single market because of the terms of the protocol.
This creates a border along the Irish Sea between the region and the rest of Britain – which has angered trade unionists and affected the UK’s domestic market.
“We need to go back to protocol and deliver a stronger, more balanced result than we could in 2019,” Lord Frost said.
He argues that a 2017 EU-UK joint report, which set the conditions for the Brexit process, resulted from the UK’s failure to make “the mental change needed to be a member of the EU to negotiate its exit from the EU “.
Lord Frost, who was elevated to the House of Lords as a life peer last year, also claimed this was the result of ‘extreme weakness’ in the UK government following the June 2017 election.
The document, titled The Northern Ireland Protocol: The Origins of the Current Crisis, by Roderick Crawford, chronologically details the Brexit negotiations and what went wrong in 2017.
He argues that the commitments contained in the 2017 Joint Report, in particular at the Irish border, were “a diplomatic triumph for Ireland and the (European) Commission”, but “failure to secure adequate reciprocal concessions was a resounding failure for the United Kingdom ”.
Its author, Mr Crawford, claims the report led to a flawed February 2018 Draft Withdrawal Agreement and the ensuing November 2018 Withdrawal Agreement.
This ultimately resulted in the fall of Theresa May’s government in 2019, according to the newspaper, and “tied the hands” of Boris Johnson’s new government as it renegotiated the terms of Brexit.
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Lord Frost also warns that the application of the Northern Ireland protocol “has started to damage” the Good Friday agreement.
He also says he considered resigning in December 2017 after reading the terms of the joint report and realizing that “a crucial pass has been sold.”
Last week Lord Frost said that current EU proposals to reform the Northern Ireland Protocol “does not go far enough” – since it has set a December deadline for both parties to find a solution.