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Thursday, October 14, 2021

More evidence the UK Government cannot be trusted on international agreements

As the Tory government desperately tries to renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol, the big question on the lips of most European leaders must be whether they can trust anything that UK Ministers say.

It does not help of course that since the agreement was signed by Boris Johnson, after a personal negotiating session with the Irish taoiseach, he and other ministers have spent every possible opportunity bad-mouthing it, and pretending it was imposed on them by the EU. That is a complete lie.

Unfortunately for Johnson and his cronies, there are some who are prepared to put a spoke in their works. The Spectator reports that the Prime Minister's former advisor, Dominuic Cummings has suggested that the government always planned to 'ditch' the protocol:

Cummings says that the priority was to deliver Brexit with the 'best option' available at the time and then later 'ditch' the bits that they didn't like once the government was in a more stable position. He says his claims do not amount to saying that Boris Johnson was lying when it came to the protocol. He says the Prime Minister can't have been lying as 'he never had a scoobydoo what the deal he signed meant'.

To say those claims have landed badly with the EU would be an understatement. Former taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who was instrumental in negotiating the protocol with Johnson at a countryside retreat, has said that if the UK government acted in bad faith, they could not be trusted on future agreements either. Unsurprisingly the comments are viewed as very unhelpful inside government. The issue ministers face is that they are trying to broker a new agreement with the EU — including renegotiating the role of the ECJ — anything which suggests the UK side cannot be trusted makes that task all the harder.

The UK may come back empty-handed from these fresh negotiations after all.
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