Boris Johnson’s government has new proposals for post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland. The message to the EU is plain enough. The prime minister has no intention of honouring the solemn commitments made in the Irish protocol.
Not so long ago he described the deal he had struck with Brussels as “brilliant”.
Now, he is disowning it. The signal to the rest of the world? Britain’s signature on international treaties is just about worthless.
To be clear, there can be no magic resolution of the argument that has been raging between London and Brussels about the operation of new trade arrangements between the UK and the Irish Republic.
The imperative in the Brexit deal was to maintain the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic at the heart of the 1998 Belfast peace agreement. The EU’s legitimate interest was to preserve the integrity of its single market by ensuring Northern Ireland did not become a backdoor for illicit trade. Johnson’s insistence that the...read more...