CNBC host confused over currency used in Republic of Ireland
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Brexit minister Lord Frost hinted that action over Northern Ireland’s Brexit deal could be taken by Christmas as he called for “short, intensive” talks with the EU to get underway swiftly. The Tory peer said on Monday that “serious” discussions with Brussels should take place after European officials respond to UK proposals, which he expects “within the next couple of weeks”. But if the UK and the EU cannot strike an agreement, Lord Frost said Britain will consider what is seen to be the nuclear option of triggering Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The former Brexit Secretary David Davis has told the EU to “shape up”.
Speaking to GB News, Mr Davis said: “He [Lord Frost] is doing the right thing. This problem started right back in December 2017 when Theresa May gave into the Irish to have full alignment.
“We’ve not got off that hook since.
“Although Boris struggled to do it, Lord Frost himself struggled to do it – they didn’t get off the hook.
“We’re still stuck in a position where Northern Ireland is sort of a member of the European Union in a way, that’s how the rules work.
“If it works the way the Europeans want it to work it will put a border down the Irish Sea that will cause problems for the operation of business in Northern Ireland but also for the Good Friday Agreement.”
He added: “Lord Frost has got the moral high ground in this and the European Union has got to shape up.”
Lord Frost told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester that he would “soon be sending” new legal texts to the EU with proposals to resolve the “serious political problem”.
Lord Frost provides update on Northern Ireland protocol
“I hope that might change over the next couple of weeks or so. It does need to be resolved though, one way or another, whether it’s through negotiations or Article 16,” he told a fringe event arranged by the Policy Exchange think tank.
“We need a short, intensive, and good faith talk process to happen quite soon, and as we come out of that we will know if an agreement is possible or not – and if it’s not possible then obviously we will be looking into Article 16.
“But we need to try everything. We need to show that we’ve tried everything and we need to see if it is possible to agree something.”
The Conservative peer was asked if the problems surrounding Article 16 could be over by Christmas.
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“Will it be over by Christmas? I think something will be over by Christmas,” he responded cryptically.
He said Article 16 would not be triggered “randomly”, adding that the proper process would be followed to provide the “maximum possible predictability and certainty” to traders in the region.
The protocol effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods, but as a result has imposed a trade barrier on products crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain.
Unionists want Prime Minister Boris Johnson to tear it up, a move he has so far resisted as the Government presses for a renegotiation with Brussels.
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