Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, has declared that Britain’s support of the Good Friday Agreement is “absolute” during a charm offensive in Washington designed to ease concerns over Boris Johnson’s recent Brexit talk moves.
Mr Raab made the comments at a press conference with Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, on a day when he was also due to meet with Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, who has criticised the Government’s proposed changes to the Brexit deal.
Accusations that Mr Johnson is breaking international law and undermining Northern Irish peace by attempting to change parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement have become wrapped up in UK-US trade deal talks in America.
The Internal Market Bill aims to make it easier to transport goods between the UK’s four nations, and has raised concerns that a hard border will be imposed on the island of Ireland
Leading Democrats have been publicly warning that any undercutting of the Good Friday Agreement, a historic Northern Irish peace deal signed in 1998, could see them veto the UK-US trade deal currently being negotiated.
The warnings carry political weight given that any trade deal will only become law when it is ratified by the two wings of the US Congress, the Senate and the House. The Democrats currently hold the majority in the House.
Asked whether the Johnson government had jeopardised a trade deal with its controversial attempts to alter aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement, Mr Raab put the blame on Brussels and repeated the UK’s support for the Good Friday Agreement.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me to be clear that the threat to the Good Friday Agreement as it’s reflected in the Northern Ireland protocol has come from the EU’s politicisation of the issue and to be clear on how that’s happened and why that’s happened,” Mr Raab said of his visit.