Foreign Secretary Liz Truss meets with Maros Sefcovic
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Responding to Ms Truss’s announcement of her visit to Belfast, Irish politician Baroness Kate Hoey said that “tinkering with checks” will not help fix the “constitutional outrage”. She urged the Foreign Secretary to scrap the Protocol entirely. The UK has been locked in talks with the EU over the Northern Ireland issue since October.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson added to the mounting pressure, urging the British government to honour its commitments to “protect Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market”.
Sir Jeffrey warned UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday that his Government needs to take decisive action over the issue, adding that they have had “more than enough time now.”
DUP MP Ian Paisley also piled pressure onto Ms Truss earlier in January, saying that the issue needed to be “solved now”.
He told Express.co.uk: “My view is that it has to be solved now.
“The time has passed for it being solved.
“People have been very patient. It must be done now.”
Sharing her visit to Belfast on Twitter, Ms Truss said she was “determined to negotiate a solution”.
She wrote: “I’m in Belfast today to hear from communities and businesses affected by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“I remain determined to negotiate a solution with the EU.
“The focus must be on protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and fixing the Protocol.”
Responding to her announcement, Baroness Hoey said: “Thanks for visiting BUT a crucial issue is the separation of NI from the rest of the U.K.
“Protocol breaks the Belfast agreement so tinkering with checks will not change the constitutional outrage.
“Protocol must go completely.”
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Ms Truss took over Lord Frost’s brief as Brexit Minister after he resigned in December.
Earlier this week, the Foreign Secretary’s counterpart in Brussels, Maros Sefcovic, said that his latest meeting with Ms Truss was “frustrating” and “difficult”.
But in a joint statement, the pair said there was a “constructive atmosphere” at the talks.
The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed as part of the withdrawal agreement to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the UK left the EU.
But because Northern Ireland remained within the EU’s single market for goods, a border was effectively created between Great Britain and Northern Ireland down the Irish Sea.
The Protocol has come under fire because of border checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which have resulted in delays, supermarket shortages and increased costs for businesses in Northern Ireland.
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