Senior American politicians have warned Boris Johnson that a USA-UK trade deal could collapse if Britain goes ahead with its new Brexit plan.
Four US Congressman wrote to the Prime Minister urging him not to ‘undermine decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland’ by ripping up his Brexit deal and breaking international law.
The UK Internal Market Bill cleared its first hurdle on Monday despite opposition from a number of senior Conservatives and all of the UK’s living former Prime Ministers. But next week a number of amendments could give the Government more reason for concern.
The Congressmen, includingthe chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, told the PM to respect the open border in Northern Ireland. They wrote: ‘Many in the United States and in Congress consider the issues of the Good Friday Agreement and a potential US-UK Free Trade Agreement inextricably linked.’
Their intervention comes as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab met his counterpart Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for talks on a range of issues in the US.
The Congressman continued: ‘With the issues raised in this letter in mind, we therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland and future options for the bilateral relationship between our two countries.’
The letter, which was also signed by Mr Engel’s fellow Democrats Richard Neal and William Keating as well as Republican Peter King, comes less than a week after Nancy Pelosi said there would be ‘absolutely no chance’ of a US/UK trade deal if Mr Johnson overrides the Brexit deal with Brussels.
Ms Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, said the American Congress would never pass an economic agreement that it felt could ‘imperil’ the Northern Ireland peace accord.
Mr Raab will also meet Democrat Ms Pelosi during his Washington visit, with Brexit expected to be one of the main items discussed.
Ministers have already admitted the proposed Internal Market Bill will breach international law.
But the Government argues the new proposed legislation is necessary to protect the Northern Ireland peace process, if London and Brussels are unable to agree a free trade deal before the transition period runs out at the end of the year.
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