Liz Truss' allies calling for bid to take over from Prime Minister
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The Foreign Secretary took over responsibility for the UK’s future relationship with the EU following the resignation of Lord Frost earlier this month, as talks between Britain and Brussels on the Northern Ireland Protocol are set to continue into next year.
But Robert Oulds, director of the pro-Brexit Bruges Group think tank, insisted Ms Truss should pull the plug on negotiations.
Mr Oulds urged the Foreign Secretary, who has been tipped as a future leadership contender, to trigger Article 16 of the protocol – a move that would effectively unilaterally suspend the agreement.
He told Express.co.uk: “The time for talking is over, enough words have been said and it’s time for Liz Truss to prove that she has what it takes to succeed Boris Johnson.
“The only way she can guarantee that she will be in pole position to become Prime Minister is if indeed she does pick up and succeed where Lord Frost has failed.
“That means invoking Article 16. No talking, we need to see action.
“Then, of course, the European Union will know that Liz Truss means business, then they will sit down at a table and be serious.
“But without that there can be no hope of any success.
“We’ve made our case, we’ve shown how the Northern Ireland Protocol is hurting the people of Northern Ireland, the harm it’s doing.
“We need to show that we mean business and that means enacting Article 16 – then what will happen is that will institute real discussions with the European Union, where they will have to be working hard to find a solution that’s acceptable.
“But to continue the current vein of talks and actions where Lord Frost was seemingly going to concede the European Court of Justice would be ruling over Northern Ireland, that is unacceptable.”
Ms Truss has said she wants talks with the EU on the protocol to “pick up the pace” in the new year.
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On December 21, she had her first call with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic since taking over from Lord Frost, who quit over the “current direction of travel” of the Government.
Ms Truss said: “We want a constructive relationship with the EU, underpinned by trade and our shared belief in freedom and democracy.
“Resolving the current issues is critical to unleashing that potential.
“The UK position has not changed. We need goods to flow freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, end the role of the ECJ (European Court of Justice) as the final arbiter of disputes between us, and resolve other issues.
“We must pick up the pace on talks in the New Year. Our preference remains to reach an agreed solution.
“If this does not happen, we remain prepared to trigger Article 16 safeguards to deal with the very real problems faced in Northern Ireland and to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions.”
The protocol was agreed by the UK and EU as a way to maintain a free-flowing land border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.
But businesses have been hit by the changes, and London and Brussels are trying to reach agreement that would reduce customs paperwork and the number of checks and inspections required on goods.
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