Liz Truss is ready to ‘capitulate’ to the EU over hated deal – ‘Frost couldn’t bear to’ | Politics | News
Lord Frost criticised over post-Brexit negotiations by Habib
And Mr Habib, who was one of 29 Brexit Party candidates elected to the European Parliament in 2019, fears the Foreign Secretary is poised to accept the European Court of Justice’s role in Northern Ireland – something completely unacceptable to him and many other stalwarts. Ms Truss was handed the role of Brexit negotiator last month after the resignation of Lord David Frost.
Since then, the Tory MP for South West Norfolk has talked of “picking up the pace” in Brexit negotiations with Brussels, and is hosting Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on Thursday.
However, Mr Habib, who spearheaded an unsuccessful legal challenge against the protocol last year, was not optimistic about the prospect of her delivering a satisfactory outcome.
He told Express.co.uk: “Many will say the Foreign Secretary has only just taken over Lord Frost’s job and cannot yet be judged on her commitment to reclaiming Northern Ireland.
Liz Truss took over Lord David Frost’s Brexit portfolio last month
Ben Habib is a former Brexit Party MEP
“They are wrong. Her direction of travel is already known.”
Many of the concerns centre on the Northern Ireland protocol, the controversial mechanism aimed at preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Critics claim by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods, the protocol has instead resulted in a border down the Irish Sea.
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Maros Sefcovic and Simon Coveney last year
Referring to the means by which the UK could suspend the protocol, Mr Habib said of Ms Truss: “If she meant business, she needed immediately to invoke Article 16, setting in train a formal period of one month in which to reach agreement with the EU.
“Negotiations have already been going on for far too long.”
One month, formally invoked, would have been “more than enough” to determine if any agreement with the EU was possible, Mr Habib stressed.
He added: “Instead she will see her Irish counterpart, Simon Coveney and then to entertain the EU’s chief negotiator, Maros Sefcovic, at Chevening.
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Simon Coveney is Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
“The fact is the Government has already all but capitulated. It has done so by refusing to invoke Article 16.
“The purpose of Liz Truss’s meetings is to deliver the capitulation in the least embarrassing way possible.
“She will dull the optics of the Irish Sea border by further aligning the UK with EU regulatory standards and she will accept the European Court of Justice’s ongoing role in Northern Ireland.
“The capitulation is now not long away. Lord Frost resigned because he could not bring himself to do it. Liz Truss will finish the job.“
Northern Ireland Protocol dispute factfile
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has said there will be “major implications” at Stormont if Ms Truss fails to swiftly set a formal deadline to end negotiations with Brussels over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Days after Mr Sefcovic claimed “London has breached a great deal of trust” with Europe over the protocol, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said Liz Truss needed to provide a “clear date” for ending the talks.
He told the Sunday Telegraph: “We need a clear date now, we need a clear timeline in which there is an expectation of real progress or the Government takes the action that is necessary.
“It is crucial that Liz Truss moves this process forward quickly and that we get real and meaningful progress on a range of issues, not least of which is removing the checks on the movement of goods within the United Kingdom internal market.”
Lord David Frost resigned last month
Sir Jeffrey would not specify a reasonable deadline for Ms Truss to make progress, but added: “January is going to be an absolutely crucial month.
“If we don’t get rapid and decisive progress, and one side or the other is kicking the can down the road, this will have major implications for the stability of the political institutions in Northern Ireland.”
Tweeting after her first conversation with Mr Sefcovid on December 21, Ms Truss said: “The UK Government position is unchanged.
“We need to urgently resolve the problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
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