Lord Frost criticised the Houser Speaker for suggesting that Boris Johnson's threat to over-ride the Northern Ireland Protocol could see a transatlantic trade deal shelved.
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One of Boris Johnson’s former senior ministers lashed out at Nancy Pelosi today, branding the US politician ‘ignorant’ after she waded into the Brexit row over Northern Ireland. 

Lord Frost criticised the Houser Speaker for suggesting that Boris Johnson’s threat to over-ride the Northern Ireland Protocol could see a transatlantic trade deal shelved. 

In a stark message, Pelosi had branded the PM’s threat to axe the protocol ‘deeply concerning’.

And she insisted there is no chance of the US Congress support a free trade pact with the UK if the Good Friday Agreement is undermined.

The intervention will set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street after months of efforts to convince Joe Biden’s White House that the protocol is the source of rising sectarian tensions in the province. 

 Lord Frost quit the Government last year after negotiating the Brexit deal, and is now backing moves to tear it up. He attacked Ms Pelosi in an interview with the BBC, suggesting she did not understand Northern Ireland.

‘I thought her statement was ignorant of the realities in Northern Ireland,’ he said. 

Lord Frost criticised the Houser Speaker for suggesting that Boris Johnson's threat to over-ride the Northern Ireland Protocol could see a transatlantic trade deal shelved.

Lord Frost criticised the Houser Speaker for suggesting that Boris Johnson’s threat to over-ride the Northern Ireland Protocol could see a transatlantic trade deal shelved.

In a stark message, House speaker Nancy Pelosi branded the PM's threat to axe the protocol 'deeply concerning'

In a stark message, House speaker Nancy Pelosi branded the PM’s threat to axe the protocol ‘deeply concerning’

The intervention will set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street after months of efforts to convince the White House the protocol is the source of rising sectarian tensions in the province (pictured)

The intervention will set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street after months of efforts to convince the White House the protocol is the source of rising sectarian tensions in the province (pictured)

Jeffrey Donaldson vented fury at Ms Pelosi's 'interfering', saying she was 'entirely unhelpful' and 'hopelessly out of date'

Jeffrey Donaldson vented fury at Ms Pelosi’s ‘interfering’, saying she was ‘entirely unhelpful’ and ‘hopelessly out of date’

Sturgeon and O’Neill back Pelosi during Edinburgh talks 

Nicola Sturgeon warned questions about the future of the UK are not ‘going away’ today as she met Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill in Edinburgh.

The SNP leader and Ms O’Neill – whose party emerged victorious in recent elections – held talks on ‘shared areas of interest’ as they both mull how to break up the UK.

The encounter will cause concern for Boris Johnson, as he now faces separatists in charge of the largest parties in Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Scottish Tories said the Ms Sturgeon choosing to entertain Sinn Fein showed she would ‘work with anyone so long as they support the break-up of the UK’. 

After the discussions at her Bute House residence, Ms Sturgeon – who wants to hold another independence referendum next year – said that the fates of Scotland and Northern Ireland were not necessarily linked.

But she insisted the Brexit process had ‘brought to the fore some very fundamental questions’ over the system of governance.

‘Scotland, and indeed Northern Ireland – we both voted against Brexit but we are both now dealing with the very negative consequences of Brexit,’ Ms Sturgeon said.

‘That really brings to the fore that that system of government that’s been at play in the UK for some time now is not serving all of our interests.

‘You hear these questions in Scotland, you hear them in Northern Ireland. Increasingly, you’re hearing these questions being asked in Wales, as well.

‘I don’t think these questions are going to go away.’

Ms O’Neill – whose party has been calling for a referendum on unifying the island of Ireland within five years – said: ‘The historic bonds between Scotland and the island of Ireland go back centuries. We enjoy a long & enduring affinity as neighbours and friends.

‘Moving forward we will strengthen the bonds that tie us.’ 

‘There is no plan to put in place a physical border. Nobody has ever suggested that, so I don’t know why she is suggesting that in her statement. 

‘She suggests that changes to the protocol would undermine the Belfast Agreement. In fact it is the protocol itself that’s undermining it and people who can’t see that really shouldn’t be commenting. 

‘US support is really important, but it’s got to be based on a n understanding of the realities.’

Ms Pelosi said in her statement: ‘The Good Friday Accords are the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and a beacon of hope for the entire world.

‘Ensuring there remains no physical border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is absolutely necessary for upholding this landmark agreement, which has transformed Northern Ireland.’

Unionists also vented fury at Ms Pelosi’s ‘interfering’, saying she was ‘entirely unhelpful’ and ‘hopelessly out of date’. 

Sinn Fein won Stormont elections earlier this month, but no executive has been formed because the DUP will not nominate a deputy first minister unless the protocol is fundamentally overhauled.

They insist that the rules effectively create a border in the Irish Sea, and separate Northern Ireland from mainland Britain. 

Power-sharing rules in the peace agreement mean that both unionists and republicans must participate in order for the administration to function.

This week, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced plans to legislate to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal treaty the UK struck with the EU.

However, the government has stopped short of publishing the law and appears to be taking a softer approach to the crisis. 

The EU has said that the wider post-Brexit trade deal could be at risk if Mr Johnson follows through on scrapping the protocol – a move which he says might be necessary to maintain peace. The PM signed up to the post-Brexit arrangements but says they are being applied too harshly by the EU.

Ms Pelosi said on Twitter: ‘It is deeply concerning that the United Kingdom is now seeking to unilaterally discard the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

Negotiated agreements like the Protocol preserve the important progress and stability forged by the Good Friday Accords, which continue to enjoy strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the United States Congress.

‘As I have stated in my conversations with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and Members of the House of Commons, if the United Kingdom chooses to undermine the Good Friday Accords, the Congress cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.

‘Respectful of the will of the British people and of Brexit, I urge constructive, collaborative and good-faith negotiations to implement an agreement that upholds peace.

‘The children of Northern Ireland, who have never known the bloody conflict and do not want to go back, deserve a future free of the violence where all may reach their fulfillment.’

But Sir Jeffrey slammed Ms Pelosi’s intervention as ‘entirely unhelpful’.

‘I noted that Speaker Pelosi talked about the lack of bipartisan approach or agreement on what the UK government are doing,’ he said.

‘The problem for Speaker Pelosi is that there is not bipartisan or cross-community support for the protocol in Northern Ireland, it is undermining the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, it is undermining the political institutions that were established under that agreement, it undermines the principle of consent.

‘You cannot have powersharing without consensus in Northern Ireland so the bipartisanship or the consensus that is required is not won in the US congress, it’s won in the Northern Ireland Assembly and I would urge Speaker Pelosi to understand that because I think that her contributions are entirely unhelpful, offer no solution, offer no help and merely repeat a mantra that frankly is hopelessly out of date.’

The Traditional Unionist Voice party in Northern Ireland was also critical of Ms Pelosi, adding ‘the interference of foreign figures in what are internal UK matters is unwelcome and inappropriate’.

Ms Pelosi branded the PM's (pictured in Westminster yesterday) threat to axe the protocol 'deeply concerning'

Ms Pelosi branded the PM’s (pictured in Westminster yesterday) threat to axe the protocol ‘deeply concerning’

TUV representative Stephen Cooper also said Irish premier Micheal Martin, who met the Stormont parties in Belfast on Friday, ‘has no business lecturing Unionists on what they can and cannot do’.

‘His belligerent meddling should be met with the contempt it deserves and frankly Unionists should not even be meeting him,’ he said.

However, Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill said she ‘very much welcomes’ the Ms Pelosi’s intervention.

‘They’ve [US Congress] made it very clear that there will be no trade deal with Britain if they undermine the Good Friday Agreement,’ the Sinn Fein vice-president said as she visited Scotland’s First Minister in Edinburgh on Friday.

‘Those statements are very, very important because we have to protect the Good Friday Agreement.

‘The protocol provides us some mitigation against the worst impact of Brexit – the hardest possible Brexit that’s been delivered by Boris Johnson in London and the DUP partners in Belfast.’

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