Biden-backed Senator warns Lord Frost of “adverse effects” from the NI Protocol debate | Politics | news
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, 48, and a group of US delegates met with the UK Brexit team, including Minister Lord David Frost, 56, in London yesterday. The Irish-American Democrat, once called a “dark candidate” for president in Hill, warned the British negotiating team how to proceed with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
On Twitter, Mr Murphy wrote: “Thanks to @USAmbUK and the entire Embassy London team for inviting me to speak to British officials about the bipartisan concern of Congress that the Northern Ireland Protocol debate is adversely affecting the Belfast Good Friday Agreement will.”
In a separate social media post, however, the member of the US Committee on Foreign Relations showed the US delegation sitting across from Lord Frost, Northern Irish Foreign Secretary Brandon Lewis, 50, and the Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Advisor, John Bew, 41.
Before arriving in the UK, the Democratic Senator wrote a letter with Republican Pat Toomey, 60, calling on Boris Johnson, 57, to “communicate the strong interest of Congress to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected in future agreements” .
During his visit to Stormont, the Senator from Joe Biden’s party reiterated that the position had bipartisan support in Washington.
“I am here on behalf of Republicans and Democrats in the United States Senate who are interested in continuing our legacy of friendship with Northern Ireland,” he told Stormont.
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Despite Murphy’s bipartisan message, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, 38, shared his thoughts on how President Joe Biden, 79, feels about Brexit and protocol.
On Twitter, the MP for Foyle said: “The US government and President Joe Biden @POTUS stand firmly behind us when it comes to protecting the North from the negative consequences of Brexit.”
Mr Murphy’s comments come from conversations between Lord Frost and his Czech-born EU colleague Maros Sefcovic, 55.
The UK government has threatened to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Such a move would suspend parts of the agreement, but could escalate tensions between Brexit Britain and the Brussels bloc.
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During Murphy’s visit to the UK, he also met with representatives from the DUP, Sinn Fein and SDLP.
After meeting DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, 58, and Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, 44, the Senator said: “There is more consensus in Belfast than the headlines suggest.
“Today I met with DUP Leader @J_Donaldson_MP and Sinn Fein Leader @moneillsf and they both agreed that an agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol is much better than the UK’s exercise of Article 16.”
But Mr Donaldson, the Brexit Supporting MEP for Lagan Valley Brexit, said after the meeting: “Over the weekend, Mr Murphy and Senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey wrote to the Prime Minister explaining their support for the Belfast Agreement.
“At the heart of the Belfast Agreement was the principle of assent, which fundamentally undermines the Northern Ireland Protocol.
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“You can have the Belfast Agreement or the Protocol, you cannot have both.
“The protocol does constitutional, economic and social damage to Northern Ireland, all of which harm stability and progress here.”
The DUP leader added: “I want a negotiated solution between the UK and the European Union that can solve the huge problems created by the protocol.
“However, if the EU continues to oppose such progress, it will be up to the UK government to take unilateral action.
“This measure would not undermine the Belfast Agreement, but it would be taken to restore the fundamental pillars on which political progress in Northern Ireland is built.”