Sort it out! Boris hits back at Irish PM in new phone call on Brexit deal as row heats up

Penny Mordaunt hits out at the EU over Northern Ireland

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The Prime Minister had a phone call with Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin on Tuesday. Their dialogue comes amid rising tensions over the Brexit trade deal and Northern Ireland protocol.

In the joint call, the Prime Minister called for the European Union to have an open mind to possible solutions required to address the “serious challenges” between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister emphasised that the way the Protocol is currently operating is causing significant disruption for the people in Northern Ireland.

“He made clear the UK Government’s commitment to protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions.

“He said the EU must show pragmatism and solutions needed to be found to address the serious challenges that have arisen with the Protocol.

“The Prime Minister said that the UK Government would outline its approach on the Northern Ireland Protocol to Parliament tomorrow.”

The Irish Government said Mr Johnson was assured any proposals to amend the Protocol would be “carefully considered”.

But Mr Martin also stressed the use of the “EU-UK framework for issues related to the Protocol”.

Lord David Frost told Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee on Monday that ministers were “keeping all options on the table” to resolve issues with the Protocol, including triggering a clause which would allow the unilateral overruling of the agreement.

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Meanwhile, Mr Martin told the Prime Minister there can be “no pre-determined outcome” over proposals to deal with legacy in Northern Ireland.

Speaking about plans announced in Westminster last week, which introduce a statute of limitations on crimes committed during The Troubles, the Taoiseach warned Mr Johnson of “serious concerns”.

An Irish Government statement said: “The Taoiseach raised legacy issues, including serious concerns at the British Government’s proposals.

“He emphasised that there can be no pre-determined outcome to the consultation process currently underway.”

It comes as the UK prepares to lay out its proposal for the Northern Ireland Protocol on Wednesday.

Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland minister, will read out the statement in Commons after Lord Frost first announces it.

Sources told Reuters on Monday Britain would threaten this week to deviate from the Brexit deal unless the EU showed more flexibility over Northern Ireland.

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission, said in June the UK “just need to get over, I would say, ideology into pragmatism and real politics and go for this type of veterinary agreement, which could be done just like this within a few weeks”.

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