Brexit: Lord Frost hits out at EU over Northern Ireland Protocol
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Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has been slammed by Lord Clarke, who says the current talks about the Northern Ireland Protocol between the UK and the EU are “laughable”.
The former Chancellor told The New European’s Tim Walker: “A lot more negotiation needs to take place in a civilised and sensible atmosphere, the present atmosphere is farcically acrimonious.
“On our side, the domestic politics is making it very difficult.
“Boris made a dreadful deal, but people voted for it because at that point they just wanted any deal.
“They weren’t prepared, for instance, for the problems in relation to the Irish border.”
Lord Clarke highlighted the Irish issue as a key element to be resolved.
He said: “There is a serious danger of the Good Friday Agreement and power-sharing collapsing and heading back to direct rule.
“Our government wants to tear up the whole agreement it signed up to with Europe and are trying to find a way of doing so in a way that they can blame on the French.
“I only hope that they have got experts working behind the scenes on an alternative plan.
“A lot of what is being said at the moment is laughable.”
Lord Clarke’s comments come as Brexit negotiator Lord Frost has returned from a two-day trip to Belfast, during which he confirmed the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland remains an important issue.
Speaking on Good Morning Ulster, the Cabinet Office Minister said there were still differences between London’s and Brussels’ views on the protocol.
He claimed: “We are in a situation where the EU has made some proposals.
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“At the moment, without going into detail, I’m not sure they would solve these problems of checks and processes for goods going into Northern Ireland.”
Describing Article 16 as a “perfectly legitimate option” even though his “preference” is not to trigger it, he spoke of the kind of agreement he is looking for: “It’s got to be a deal that deals with the problems, solves the underlying problems and makes a difference to businesses and people’s lives.”
Lord Clarke said Britons did not know they were voting for what they got: “No one voted for these things.
“A lot of Brexiters thought we should never leave the single market, of which Margaret Thatcher’s government was the architect.
“It was only supposed to have been about getting out of political Europe.”
One consequence of Brexit is in his view a diminished position of the UK on the international landscape.
Speaking about “Global Britain”, he said: “That is just a slogan, an excuse to for spending money on a royal yacht, and flying the flag in odd places.
“We have to get used to our reduced role in the world.”
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