Article 16 time bomb looms: Frost ready to deploy nuclear option – EU Brexit cave trashed

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The Brexit minister is preparing to engage in a series of crunch negotiations with the bloc to try and find a solution to the problems caused by the Protocol.

If no agreement can be found, Lord Frost is ready to take the “nuclear option” by triggering Article 16 and suspending the mechanism introduced as part of the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement.

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič is planning to head to London for talks first thing tomorrow morning.

The negotiations are expected to last about three weeks, at which point the UK will decide if they see a way forward.

“The next step should be intensive talks on both our sets of proposals, rapidly conducted, to determine whether there is common ground to find a solution,” a UK Government spokesman said.

“Significant changes which tackle the fundamental issues at the heart of the protocol, including governance, must be made if we are to agree a durable settlement which commands support in Northern Ireland.

“We need to find a solution which all sides can get behind for the future, which safeguards the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, and which puts the UK-EU relationship on a stronger footing.

“We are ready to work hard with this in mind.”

More to follow…

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