Live News: UK to legislate to ‘solve’ Northern Ireland trade issues, says Truss

London will introduce new legislation in the coming weeks to ‘fix’ post-Brexit trade deals for Northern Ireland because of the pressure they put on the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement, the Parliament British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

However, Truss insisted the UK had not abandoned talks with Brussels over the arrangements, which the UK government negotiated with the EU before the UK left the EU.

Truss told the House of Commons the UK government was “open to a negotiated solution” but the situation was too urgent to delay further.

Truss stressed that she believed the proposals were “legal under international law” and supported Britain’s “prior obligations” to abide by the peace pact. The EU reacted with concern to London’s suggestion that it could break a deal it signed.

Northern Ireland parties met Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Northern Ireland on Monday to discuss a political tussle over the arrangements, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol. The agreement imposes checks on goods entering the region from Britain.

The Democratic Unionist Party has boycotted the power-sharing institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement that ended the three-decade unrest until its demands on the protocol are met. He wants to end the customs border imposed in the Irish Sea, which he says undermines Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

Truss said the “new revised protocol” would improve the movement of goods in the region, regulation, VAT, subsidy control and governance. It would also protect the EU’s single market, she insisted.

“Our preference is to reach a negotiated outcome with the EU,” Truss said. “For now, the EU has not wanted to open the protocol.” The protocol had to change, Truss insisted.

But DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has indicated further action will be needed before he returns to the Stormont assembly and power-sharing executive. “The Foreign Secretary will know that actions speak louder than words,” he said.

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