UK demands EU action on N.Ireland as US lawmakers visit
Britain has insisted it is up to the European Union to unblock political paralysis in Northern Ireland, after assuring a delegation from the US Congress of its “cast-iron” commitment to peace in the province.
The UK government has provoked anger on both sides of the Atlantic with a plan to overhaul the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, a trading arrangement that was agreed as part of its Brexit divorce deal with the EU.
London is bidding to placate pro-UK unionists who are refusing to join a new power-sharing government in Belfast — led for the first time by pro-Irish nationalists — until the protocol is reformed.
Interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis demanded that Brussels adopt a new negotiating mandate to address the fierce objections of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
“I made this point to the EU myself before the (May 5) elections. My view was, it was much easier to get a deal before the elections than afterwards,” Lewis said.
“The idea that it was going to be easier after the elections was a crazy one from the EU.”
The protocol recognised Northern Ireland’s status as a fragile, post-conflict territory that shares…