Brexit: France ‘doesn’t have a weapon to use’ says commentator
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A whopping 91.7 percent (11,788) backed calls for the Brexit Secretary to make good on his threats to trigger the clause which would unilaterally suspend aspects of the EU withdrawal agreement. It concerns the Northern Ireland Protocol which left the province effectively in the EU single market – creating checks between it and the rest of the UK.
Dubbed the “border in the Irish Sea”, this has outraged its Unionist community and has led to several nights of rioting.
The EU and UK have held numerous high-level meetings in an effort to avert triggering the clause.
However both Lord Frost and Boris Johnson have publicly said that current offers tabled by the EU to amend the existing Protocol fall short of what they deem acceptable.
A key demand is an end to the oversight of the European Court of Justice over Northern Ireland – a red line for both sides.
Ministers have given the EU three weeks to resolve the issue before triggering Article 16.
This is likely to be extended if the ongoing talks make headway, Government sources said.
And as Brexit Britain inches ever closer to triggering the clause, a poll of Express.co.uk readers revealed that they were backing the Goverment to the hilt.
A paltry 7.2 percent (926) wanted to settle for an extension while a mere 1.1 percent (141) were unsure of the 12,855 people polled.
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As well as the thousands who voted, hundreds commented on the increasingly bitter political spat.
UKU is toast wrote: “Frost is in no position to hand the EU anything, especially an extension. They are calling the shots, not him.
“All he is trying to do is give himself an ‘extension’. It goes under the name of bluffing.”
Ted Soudan wrote: “Johnson and Frost have prevaricated for too long.
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“This continues to weaken the UK position.
“Please give us leaders with guts. Let’s remove Johnson and Frost and replace (them) with Liz Truss who seems to have more determination viz a viz the EU than Johnson and Frost put together.”
Meanwhile user Will-l am Not raged: “Trigger Article 16.
“Enough of doing this tap dance with the EU.
“The longer we let this dance go on the weaker we look! Just go to WTO (World Trade Organisation rules) and be done with it and then.”
Last week Lord Frost held talks with his EU counterpart Marcos Sefcovic over the Protocol.
A Whitehall source later said there were no guarantees even if the so-called “nuclear option” was taken, it would solve the problem.
They told The Times: “Triggering Article 16 does not solve the problems we face.
”Even if we were to do it, eventually we’d still have to get back round the table.”
Lord Frost wants talks to end a “new more intensive phase” permitting the UK and EU “space” to compromise.
A Commission official said: “There have been areas of progress in discussions.
“If the UK wants these discussions to succeed then the major step we took needs to be reciprocated.
“The UK wants us to engage in intensive talks and we are happy to.
“But the UK must take a step towards us. We will take the time necessary.”
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