- Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure from the US to drop his Brexit plans.
- The UK government has announced that it will give itself the power to break the agreement signed with the EU last year.
- Last week, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said there was "absolutely no chance" of a UK-US free trade agreement if the UK Prime Minister continued the plan that outraged Brussels and MPs in London.
- Now four high-ranking Congressmen have asked Johnson to abandon the plan in a letter to the Prime Minister.
- It is said that they were "disturbed" by the plan and its risk to peace and warned that it would jeopardize the peace process in Northern Ireland.
- It was signed by the Chairs of the House Committee, Eliot Engel, Richard Neal and William Keating, and senior Republican Congressman Peter King.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Four high-ranking congressmen have warned Boris Johnson in writing that there will be no post-Brexit free trade agreement between the US and the UK unless he abandons his plan to rewrite his Brexit treaty with the EU.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi told the UK Prime Minister last week that there would be "absolutely no chance" for a post-Brexit trade deal if he continued his controversial plan.
Now Congressmen, including three committee chairs and a prominent Republican, reiterated the warning in a letter to Johnson saying they were "disturbed" by his administration's decision to violate international law.
On Tuesday, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot Engel, the Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, Richard Neal, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on European Affairs, William Keating, and Republican Congressman Peter King wrote to Johnson urging him to give up his plan or torpedo the prospect of a post-Brexit free trade agreement with the US.
in the a letter to the British Prime Minister, They said they were "very concerned about recent reports that you may be working on laws or other efforts to invalidate or override the Northern Ireland Protocol to last year's Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the UK."
The Quartet said the US played a key role in brokering peace in Northern Ireland and "for the reasons we were so concerned about reports of your administration's efforts to undermine the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement that it could have disastrous consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and have a broader process of keeping the peace on the island of Ireland. "
They reiterated Pelosi's warnings, telling Prime Minister Johnson that "many in the United States Congress consider the issue of the Good Friday Agreement and the potential US-UK Free Trade Agreement to be inextricably linked" and "if these reported plans were to move forward" it would be difficult to see how these conditions [for Congress to approve a trade deal] could be met. "
They added: "We therefore urge you to abandon all legally questionable and unfair efforts to breach the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Take-Back Agreement and ensure that the Brexit negotiations support the decades of progress in peace building in Northern Ireland and undermine future options for bilateral relations between our two countries. "
In an interview last week, Congressman Neal said Johnson's plan to rewrite elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol was "a violation … of the good faith we all entered into negotiations that led to this remarkable feat referred to as the Good Friday Agreement. "
Johnson's British government has caused consternation in the UK, Brussels and Washington after unveiling an explosive plan to unilaterally control elements of Northern Ireland's trade with the UK starting January next year.
Details of how the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed in last year's Brexit withdrawal talks will work in practice are being negotiated by UK and EU officials. Brandon Lewis, UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, admitted last week that the UK's plan to unilaterally implement its own reading of the Protocol would be in violation of international law.
Several MPs from Johnson's Conservative Party, including former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, publicly criticized the move, and dozen are expected to vote against it next week if it does not change course. Jonathan Jones resigned as head of the UK government's legal department last week in protest of the plan.
The Northern Ireland Protocol to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement provides that the province will continue to comply with EU trade rules to avoid a controversial hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
However, Johnson's UK government intends to use two laws – the International Market Bill and the Finance Bill – to effectively remove parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The EU reacted violently last week, warning the UK that it would consider legal action if it did not scrap the plan by the end of the month.
Downing Street is in talks with Conservative Members of the UK Parliament this week on a possible compromise to prevent a bank riot when the House of Commons votes on the legislation next week.
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