Don’t even think about it! Ireland sends Boris blunt Brexit warning

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Simon Coveney issued the warning as MPs approved the controversial bill in a Commons vote on Tuesday while the final official round of post-Brexit trade talks got underway in Brussels. He was speaking during a visit to the US capital where he held meetings with Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland, and US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

He said diplomats told him they backed Dublin’s efforts to preserve the Good Friday peace accord of 1998, which critics have said would be threatened by the proposed legal framework.
Mr Coveney said it felt “reassuring” to hear “blunt messaging from Washington, from both sides of the divide, both from the Republican side, as well as the Democrat side,” warning Britain would jeopardise a US-UK trade deal if it “were to breach a previous agreement in a way that undermined the peace process on the Good Friday Agreement.”
Mr Coveney’s words came after Democratic presidential nominee said the prospect of a trans-Atlantic trade deal would be damaged if the Good Friday Agreement was not respected by Britain.

He said the stern words of the Americans would be “something that will land in London”.

Mr Coveney also took aim at his British counterpart Dominic Raab over Brexit.

He claimed the foreign secretary had not “accurately reflected what was happening” in the Internal Market Bill debate during his recent Washington visit.

He insisted the US needed to pile more pressure on Britain to back away from the bill.

Earlier this month, Mr Raab travelled across the pond to lobby US leaders not to block a trade deal in light of the bill, which risks breaking international law.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the importance of protecting peace in Northern Ireland as the UK seeks to carve out its own path away from the EU.

Speaking after a meeting with Mr Raab, he said: “We pressed the United Kingdom, I am confident they will get it right.

“We made clear our view of the importance of the Good Friday Agreement, we know the complexity of the situation.”

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Mr Raab accused Brussels of politicising the matter.

He said: “The threat to the Good Friday Agreement as it is reflected in the Northern Ireland protocol has come from the EU’s politicisation of the issue.

“What we cannot have is the EU seeking to erect a regulatory border down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”

Following weeks of uproar, the bill passed its third reading by 340 votes to 256, a Government majority of 84.

Following Tuesday evening’s vote in the House of Commons it will now go to the House of Lords.

Former prime minister Theresa May and two ex-attorney generals, Geoffrey Cox and Jeremy Wright, were among 21 Conservatives who did not vote for the piece of legislation on Tuesday evening.

While some, including ministers, will have been given permission to be away from Westminster or have been paired with opposition MPs, others may have chosen to deliberately abstain.

The bill gives the Conservative Government the power to override provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement which Mr Johnson signed with the EU.

Ministers argue the measures are necessary to provide a “legal safety net” to protect the Northern Ireland peace process if Britain fails to get an agreement on a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU.

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