By European news correspondent Stephen Bailey.
A delegation of American politicians have faced backlash from UK politicians after warning Britain that unilaterally removing the Northern Ireland Protocol “will not work.”
The intervention of US politicians has led to strong criticism at what UK politicians perceive to be American interference in the UK’s internal affairs.
The Americans have also been criticised by leading figures such as former Brexit minister Lord Frost who has implied they “don’t know what they’re talking about.”
After Foreign Secretary Liz Truss rejected US President Biden’s pleas to not scrap Article 16, US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi inserted herself into the row saying:
“It is deeply concerning that the United Kingdom is now seeking to unilaterally discard the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Negotiated agreements like the Protocol preserve the important progress and stability forged by the Good Friday Accords, which continue to enjoy strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the United States Congress.”
Ms Pelosi continued:
“As I have stated in my conversations with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, and Members of the House of Commons if the United Kingdom chooses to undermine the Good Friday Accords, the Congress cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.
“Respectful of the will of the British people and of Brexit, I urge constructive, collaborative, and good-faith negotiations to implement an agreement that upholds peace.
“The children of Northern Ireland, who have never known the bloody conflict and do not want to go back, deserve a future free of the violence where all may reach their fulfilment.”
After Ms Pelosi’s comments, the Congresswoman faced considerable backlash from those who claimed she didn’t know what she was talking about and urged her to stop getting involved and commenting with a lack of knowledge of the agreement.
Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said American leaders should “get out of British constitutional matters” and dismissed the threat as an “economic bone” the UK should take no interest in biting.
“[Mrs Pelosi is] hanging out a trade deal as a carrot in her effort to induce us to bow to the Republic of Ireland.
“Does she really think we would give up the integrity of our country in the hope the US might throw us an economic bone?”
The businessman also said Ms Pelosi should “do her homework” on the Protocol, which he suggested she did not properly understand, and to stop “trying to sell us the snake oil of a trade deal.”
UK’s former Brexit minister Lord David Frost, speaking to GB News added:
“I’m not sure that they have followed all the details of everything that’s happening in Northern Ireland, the disruption that’s being caused, the social disruption, the political difficulties.
“I think it’s good that if a team is coming across here to the UK to see what is happening, then they will see very quickly the problems.
“So, I do think the administration should be careful in intervening on a question that involves the unity of a country, of a very close ally and friend, and I would hope that they would be.”
A delegation of US politicians, both Republican and Democrat met last week in Paris to attend the 84th Inter-Parliamentary meeting of the US Congress and the European Parliament at which they met with representatives of the EU and one of the matters discussed was the current issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Brendan Boyle, a Democrat representing Philadelphia in the US House of Representatives said:
‘Our Official Joint Statement just adopted in Paris at the 84th Inter-Parliamentary meeting of the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament.
We call upon the U.K. to implement fully the N.I. Protocol, which avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, preserves the integrity of the E.U. Internal Market, and protects the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts. We agree that renegotiating the Protocol is not an option.’
In addition to the above statements, other US politicians have also intervened in in the N.I. Protocol issue including Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee who urged Liz Truss to engage in face-to-face talks with the E.U.
The US group met Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin this week in Dublin and will also later travel to Northern Ireland.
This intervention in the United Kingdom’s internal politics by US politicians has drawn strong criticism from Northern Ireland.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson M.P., leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, issued the following statement:
‘Such folly. Implementing the protocol in full means ending grace periods, with an economic tsunami hitting Northern Ireland.
Power – sharing only works with cross – community consensus. There is no unionist support for the protocol. The protocol will destroy the Good Friday Agreement if not dealt with.’
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson continued:
‘I think her contributions are entirely unhelpful, offer no solution, offer no help and merely repeat the mantra that is hopelessly out of date.’
The intervention by this group of US politicians also drew strong responses from politicians in other parts of the UK.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Iain Duncan Smith said:
‘Section 13.8 in the N.I. Protocol makes it very clear that both sides are committed where necessary to ‘replace either in whole, or in part’ if it doesn’t work or areas cause trade diversion and / or political instability which is damaging for the Good Friday Agreement.The E.U. should have been sitting down properly to discuss what was necessary, but they have been intransigent from day one.’