Frost issues warning to Truss amid fears she will cave in Brexit talks

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Lord Frost warned Liz Truss not to cave to EU demands in a Brexit row over Northern Ireland. The former minister, who was also in charge of negotiations with Brussels, urged the Prime Minister not to budge on her red lines over the role of the European Court of Justice in the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Claims have been made in recent days that Britain is ready to give the court a future say in overseeing the implementation of the deal in return for an easing of customs checks.

Presently all goods crossing the Irish Sea to the province are subjected to bureaucratic red tape.

Meanwhile, the EU’s ECJ is the ultimate arbiter of any disputes between the two partners.

Warning Ms Truss not to cave, Lord Frost said the ECJ “cannot have a jurisdictional or arbitration role in the future arrangements”.

He added: “I can’t see how they would be stable while that remained the case.

“It would be better if that was acknowledged sooner rather than later.”

Officials are locked in talks on the Protocol in a bid to find a compromise by October 28.

Negotiations have been taking place for the last 12 months but have ramped up in recent weeks with just days left to find an agreement without the need for fresh elections to Northern Ireland’s devolved parliament.

The Northern Ireland Assembly is currently not sitting after the DUP said it would not take up its place in a power-sharing executive until its concerns over the Protocol were sorted.

A breakthrough in Brexit talks is needed by October 28 in order for the DUP to take up its place in the devolved government before fresh elections are legally required to be held.

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Yesterday No10 rejected reports of a UK climbdown on the ECJ in order to get a deal over the line.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Our view remains that it is inappropriate for a court of the EU to remain the supreme arbiter of law in Northern Ireland.

“You will know that we are moving to official level talks and of course, we want to resolve this through negotiation.

“There will be meetings with officials that will take place this week and the weeks ahead.”

Hopes of a deal grew last week when Deputy Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar admitted the Protocol was “too strict”.

“The protocol is not being fully implemented and yet it is still working.

“I think that demonstrates there is some room for further flexibility, for changes that hopefully will make it acceptable to all sides,” he said.

“I would concede that perhaps the Protocol, as it was originally designed, was a little too strict.”

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