The NIO has been right to send a minister to US amid American pressure on the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol

News Letter editorial on Friday May 13 2022:

By Editorial
Friday, 13th May 2022, 6:06 am
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 7:58 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

A delegation of American congressmen are flying into the Europe soon to lobby against London making changes to the Northern Ireland protocol, it was reported last night.

The Guardian said that the delegation, which will visit London, Dublin and Brussels, will be headed by the chair of the powerful ways and means committee, Richie Neal, which has influence over trade deals.

The newspaper said that the visitors will “underline President Biden’s commitment to defending the Good Friday agreement and the US’s role as a guarantor”.

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The story is not confirmed, but is not at all surprising.

Irish American politicians have applied relentless pressure on the UK over any attempt to resile from the Irish Sea border.

Congressman Neal and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, even visited Northern Ireland in 2019 and scolded London about Brexit and the Province. Their visit, and their criticisms of the UK government, were reported without much scrutiny, as if it was yet further proof of British and Tory and Brexiteer bad behaviour.

The governments of both Theresa May and Boris Johnson has seemed weak in the face of such pressure, although they have found themselves in a difficult position, wanting to get a trade deal with the United States.

It is encouraging therefore that Conor Burns, the junior NIO minister, has been in America this week trying to explain London’s stance to influential power brokers in the US.

It increasingly seems as if Boris Johnson’s government is going to make unilateral moves to protect Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market.

We report today that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is not going to help put in place a Stormont speaker even so.

The DUP leader is right to want to see more proof of actual movement from London over the protocol before moving towards a return to normality at the assembly.

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