A former US Secretary of State has defended the British Government in their bid to override the Northern Ireland Protocol and said some American politicians are “undermining” the Good Friday Agreement with their comments.
Michael Pompeo – who was a former CIA director under Donald Trump – was speaking at an Independence Day hosted by the UK Policy Exchange group.
Mr Pompeo was asked about the comments by Democrat politicians in recent months and rejected the suggestion the Bill being advanced through Westminster was a breach of the Good Friday Agreement.
He said the comments “sadden” him.
“It’s just the opposite. It’s literally the converse of that,” Mr Pompeo said.
“The rational response, the truth of the matter is that the United Kingdom is actually driving to uphold the Good Friday accords and delivering good outcomes.
“The British people, the people of the United Kingdom should be the ones that drive this.”
In May, unionists in Northern Ireland criticised a number of US politicians including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the US Congressman Richard Neal about their comments on the protocol.
Ms Pelosi said the US Congress will not support a free trade agreement with the UK if the Government persists with “deeply concerning” plans to “unilaterally discard” the protocol.
Mr Neal meanwhile faced significant criticism from some quarters for suggesting the dispute over Northern Ireland's Brexit deal appears to be a "manufactured issue" and the use of the term “planter” when referring to unionist heritage and ancestry.
He maintained he was using a historic reference to the plantation during the 17th Century.
Mr Pompeo added: “The leadership here in the United Kingdom should drive this.
“It saddens me that we have American leaders coming here and undermining the central feature of both Brexit and the Good Friday (Agreement).
“Of course, to get them right is possible and I pray that you will, that your leadership stay strong here in the United Kingdom and defend those things that matter an awful lot and get it right for all the peoples.”
The intervention by Mr Pompeo marks the second of Trump’s top team to make recent comments about the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Last month, former US national security adviser John Bolton suggested the European Union are attempting to use Northern Ireland to “relitigate the Brexit decision”.
He also said the UK are “perfectly entitled” to override the protocol agreement.
MPs in the House of Commons voted last week week to give the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill a second reading.
It comes after the DUP said it will not nominate ministers to allow a new Stormont Executive to be formed until the UK takes actions on its concerns around the protocol, and how it is impacting on Northern Ireland.
However, the move by the UK has been branded as illegal and a clear breach of international law, with the EU restarting fresh legal action over the matter.