Brexit envoy sent to Washington: Boris Johnson’s plot to counter EU whinging to Joe Biden
EU 'unwilling' to resolve Northern Ireland issue says MP
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A senior Government official from the Northern Ireland Office is set to be sent to the US capital to help boost relations between the UK and the Biden administration. There are concerns the EU is exploiting Mr Biden’s Irish heritage to get him to side with Brussels in an ongoing Brexit row.
The bloc was left outraged when the UK unilaterally extended some of the grace periods on new bureaucratic red tape introduced on goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland.
Some of the extra paperwork was due to be needed from the start of next month, but Britain warned it would have a detrimental impact on the trade within the UK.
The Westminster Government extended the grace periods by six months without consulting Brussels.
The EU has said the move is a breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol under the Brexit withdrawal agreement and is now planning to discuss the issue with representatives in the US.
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They hope to persuade the Biden administration to take a tough one in trade talks with the UK unless Downing Street U-turns on its actions.
“We don’t have a dedicated Northern Ireland specialist in the embassy, and obviously the Irish government have very long-standing links into the administration,” one UK insider told The Telegraph explaining the decision to send a special UK representative to Washington.
Another said there were concerns in No10 the Irish government has been “running rings” around the UK in America by taking advantage of President Biden’s proud heritage from the country.
They added: “There is definitely work to be done.”
It is thought the UK representative in Washington will work with the British embassy to build alliances with Irish Americans and the White House.
They will also be given the role of trying to correct inaccurate and misleading claims made by the EU to US politicians.
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Lord Frost, who negotiated the Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and is now the minister in charge of overseeing relations with the EU, is thought to have given his consent to the plan.
Agreeing a trade deal with the US remains a top priority for Boris Johnson, with the Government eager to agree on a deal as soon as possible.
President Biden has been critical of Brexit in the past.
Britain is hoping to prove it shares the same priorities as the US administration in tackling climate change and working together on other global issues to persuade him of the benefits of Global Britain post-Brexit.
There are fears the EU could undermine Britain’s effort by briefing against the UK in Washington.
Last weekend Lord Frost wrote a newspaper article attacking Brussels for remaining bitter about the decision to quit the bloc.
He said: “I hope they will shake off any remaining ill will towards us for leaving, and instead build a friendly relationship, between sovereign equals.
“That is what I will be working towards, acting constructively when we can, standing up for our interests when we must.”
The minister rejected suggestions Britain had broken international law with its decision to extend the grace periods saying the steps “are lawful and are consistent with a progressive and good-faith implementation of the Protocol”.
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