Maros Sefcovic warns against Truss’ Brexit bill
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Maros Sefcovic, who has been locked in negotiations with ex-Brexit Minister Lord David Frost and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss for months, took aim at the Prime Minister just days after the Northern Ireland Protocol passed its second reading in the House of Commons. During an appearance in London, the Slovakian diplomat said Ms Truss’ plan to alter Ulster’s post-Brexit trading arrangements “would not work”.
The Protocol was devised by Boris Johnson and Lord Frost amid concerns Brexit could erect a hard border on the Emerald Isle.
The Northern Ireland Protocol has instead created customs checks between Great Britain and Ulster, much to the outrage of Unionists in Northern Ireland.
Britain has rejected proposals put forward by the Brussels bloc to resolve the issue, including an 80 percent reduction of certain goods and cutting customs paperwork in half.
Mr Sefcovic accused Britain of adopting a “my way or the highway” approach.
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He added: “We indeed find ourselves in a difficult situation, which will most certainly not simply disappear.
“You may not hear this often from a European Commissioner but it is high time we got Brexit done.”
During the 2019 general election, Mr Johnson promised to “get Brexit done”.
The Conservative Party’s manifesto said: “If there is a majority of Conservative MPs on December 13, I guarantee I will get our new deal through Parliament.
“We will get Brexit done in January and unleash the potential of our whole country.”
Mr Johnson’s slogan helped deliver the Tory Party its largest majority since Margaret Thatcher romped to her third successive victory in 1987.
A total of 365 Conservative MPs were returned to the Commons, with the Tories performing much better in areas in Wales and northern England which voted to leave the EU in 2016.
Many Conservative MPs backed Mr Johnson’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill when it reached the Commons for the second reading earlier this week.
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A total of 295 MPs backed the bill to 221 in opposition, giving the Government a majority of 74.
According to the House of Commons list, 76 Tories abstained from the vote.
Prior to the vote, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is the “only solution” to resolve trade difficulties across the Irish Sea without the EU being willing to reopen negotiations.
The Foreign Secretary said: “This legislation will fix the problems the protocol has created, ensuring that goods can flow freely within the UK, while avoiding a hard border and safeguarding the EU single market.
“A negotiated solution has been and remains our preference, but the EU continues to rule out changing the protocol itself – even though it is patently causing serious problems in Northern Ireland – which therefore means we are obliged to act.”
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