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US politicians criticising NI Protocol legislation risk ‘encouraging’ people who lack ‘stability, calmness and order’, claims UK minister Conor Burns


Northern Ireland minister Conor Burns

Northern Ireland minister Conor Burns

Northern Ireland minister Conor Burns

Politicians in Washington criticising the UK Government over their Northern Ireland Protocol legislation are encouraging people who “don’t have the interests of stability and calmness and order at heart”.

That is the view of the Belfast-born Northern Ireland minister Conor Burns, who was speaking following criticism of the UK’s actions on the protocol by congress representatives from the Congressional Friends of Ireland group.

On Monday it was revealed Boris Johnson's plans to unilaterally scrap parts of the protocol deal governing post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland.

Responding on Tuesday, US politicians from the bipartisan group issued a statement saying the Bill in parliament, “threatens international law and, most concerningly, could jeopardise the almost 25 years of peace established by the Good Friday Agreement”.

It comes after US Speaker Nancy Pelosi intervened in the row, saying 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.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Burns suggested the comments from politicians in Washington could potentially risk violence in the province.

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“There is a lot of lazy talk going on here that what we’re doing with the protocol is endangering or imperilling peace,” he told the newspaper.

“Everybody should be very temperate in their use of language. Remember that voices can echo and can encourage people who don’t have the interests of stability and calmness and order at heart.

“There is nothing that suggests to me that tidying up the movement of goods around our country should imperil what has been 24 and a bit years of a transformed Northern Ireland.”

Last month, Ms Pelosi urged the UK and the EU to continue negotiations in a bid to uphold peace in Northern Ireland.

“The Good Friday Accords are the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and a beacon of hope for the entire world,” she said in a letter.

“Ensuring there remains no physical border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is absolutely necessary for upholding this landmark agreement, which has transformed Northern Ireland.”

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