Ms Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives announced on Friday that Congress would not support a free trade deal with the UK if new legislation was introduced to override the Northern Ireland protocol. She emphasised that the Protocol was essential to the Good Friday Agreement which maintains peace and minimises border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
She said in a written statement: “It is deeply concerning that the United Kingdom now seeks to unilaterally discard the Northern Ireland protocol, which preserves the important progress and stability forged by the accords.
“It continues to enjoy strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the United States Congress.”
She added: “If the United Kingdom chooses to undermine the Good Friday Accords, the Congress cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.”
Ms Pelosi’s warning follows a visit to Washington by Conor Burns, the UK’s newly appointed special envoy for Northern Ireland.
Mr Burns led a delegation of UK officials to explain the UK’s position to US President Joe Biden’s administration and Congress.
He said there could be no negotiations between the US and EU over the Protocol.
He explained: “We seek an ambitious free trade agreement with the US. But there can be no connection between that and doing the right thing for Northern Ireland. None.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss confirmed this week the Government was planning to publish legislation to nullify some parts of the Northern Ireland protocol.
Ms Truss hopes to suspend EU border checks on goods travelling to Northern Ireland only.
The Protocol is preventing the Democratic Unionist Party from forming a power-sharing Executive with Sinn Fein after the May 5 elections, which the Government argues is undermining the Good Friday Agreement.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “If Nancy Pelosi wants to see the agreement protected, then she has to recognise it is the Protocol undermining the agreement.
“We will not re-enter the political institutions in full until we see decisive action on the Protocol.”
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