Boris Johnson risks US fury over Good Friday agreement threat
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The Sinn Fein leader warned the international diplomatic community is committed to protecting the peace arrangements in Ireland regardless of the UK’s Brexit objectives. The Uk Government is set to unveil new legislation that would allow London to unilaterally override aspects of the current Northern Ireland Protocol. But Mary Lou McDonald said Boris Johnson can expect significant resistance from the United States should the Belfast Agreement come under threat because of his new bill.
Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the Sinn Fein leader said: “The United States is involved because they know as surely as we know that what is at play here is a very, very deliberate set of actions that undermine the Good Friday Agreement.
“Everybody from the White House, from President Biden, across American politics on a bipartisan basis – and you know as well as I do there are a few issues that unite political opinion in the United States and this is one of them.
“All of us have skin in this game, everybody knows that to protect the Good Friday Agreement there is an absolute imperative on Boris Johnson and his Government to act in good faith.
“And to act constructively, to engage, to respect the rule of law, and to understand that Ireland will not be the collateral damage in the games and gamesmanship at play currently in the Tory Party.”
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President Biden and Speaker of the House Nandy Pelosi have repeatedly warned they would not allow Brexit to threaten the Belfast Agreement.
They have also hinted at a potential trade agreement with the UK being postponed if changes are made that would cause security concerns in Northern Ireland.
Ms McDonald also accused Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis of “talking through his hat” when claiming the new legislation would not be breaching international law.
She continued: “Brandon Lewis should know, the Tory government should know, that where there are issues to be resolved with the protocol, issues of smoothing out its application, there are mechanisms through which that can happen.
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“There is a willingness here, a willingness to engage by the European Commission.
“But the British Government has refused to engage, has not been constructive, has sought a destructive path, and is now proposing to introduce legislation that will undoubtedly breach international law.
“And against the expressed democratic wishes of people in the north of Ireland who went to the polls, who made their democratic decision and who have returned a majority of members that support the protocol.”
The Sinn Fein leader added: “There is a willingness here, there is a willingness to engage by the European Commission, but the British government has refused to engage,” she told Sky News.
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“It has not been constructive, it has sought a destructive path, and is now proposing to introduce legislation that will undoubtedly breach international law.”
Brandon Lewis has insisted legislation giving ministers powers to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol will not breach international law.
The Northern Ireland Secretary said the move will be “lawful” and “correct”.
Asked if the new legislation, to be introduced to Parliament on Monday, will be in breach of the law, Mr Lewis told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “The legislation we’ll outline tomorrow is within the law. What we’re going to do is lawful and it is correct.”
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