New UK PM Puts Off Standing Up to EU, Biden on Northern Ireland for Six Months

Northern Ireland
MATT CARDY/AFP via Getty Images

Liz Truss, Britain’s new Prime Minister, has put off finally standing up to the Joe Biden-backed European Union on its continued exercise of power over Northern Ireland for at least another six months.

Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Ulster, particularly by pro-British unionists, was left partially under EU control by Boris Johnson in the barely-altered version of Theresa May’s Brexit deal which he submitted to on becoming Prime Minister — despite pre-premiership promises that he would never do so.

This has left Northern Ireland effectively still inside the EU, to a great extent, for the purposes of customs and regulations, and created an internal border within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland down the Irish Sea.

It was feared that Liz Truss, an ardent ‘Remainer’ during the EU referendum in 2016 who went on to vote for May’s failed Brexit-in-name-only deal three times, would not be voted to finally terminate the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, which has caused the regional government in Northern Ireland to collapse because the major British unionist party believes it has undermined their province’s place within the United Kingdom.

Those fears will have heightened in some quarters with the news that she has pushed a deadline for action — the latest of many — to six months in the future.

The British government’s position on Northern Ireland, where the EU is alleged to be carrying out an exorbitant number of customs checks relative to other points of entry to its customs union to punish the UK for Brexit and disrupt intra-UK trade, is complicated by the fact that the Joe Biden administration in the United States is effectively acting as an enforcer for the EU.

Biden, an anti-Brexiteer who believes himself to be Irish despite his apparent English descent feared to harbour anti-British sentiment, has repeatedly suggested that it is up to the British to cave to the EU’s demands in order to secure peace in Northern Ireland — apparently not considering that militant loyalists are unlikely to accept being sold out to Brussels peacefully.

Prime Minister Truss touched upon the subject of the Protocol with President Biden when they met in New York City, where the United Nations General Assembly is taking place, with the elderly American leader seemingly mollified by the six-month delay.

“What we want to do is protect and restore the Good Friday Agreement. And both of [Truss and Biden] are looking at the 25th anniversary next year as a key decision point, but the big obstacle to that being the lack of [a regional government] at the moment,” a senior British diplomat told The Telegraph.

“The 25th anniversary is a key pivot moment, which is Easter next year. If you don’t have an Executive Assembly by then, that’s pretty bad all round,” they suggested.

“It’s an important place in the electoral cycle, for the Biden administration as well… So that’s the kind of primary focus which is an absolutely shared focus.”

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