Liz Truss: Backbenchers see as ‘safe pair of hands’ says expert
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The UK’s Foreign Secretary has now taken on the brief of overseeing the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the bloc across all aspects. This came after the shock resignation of Lord Frost at the weekend, who had served as Boris Johnson’s right-hand man on Brexit and was leading negotiations with the EU, most recently over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Ms Truss will speak with European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic later on Tuesday as they continue to seek solutions over difficulties involving trade between Britain and Ireland.
She tweeted on Monday: “Look forward to speaking to Maros Sefcovic tomorrow about the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“I want a comprehensive solution that delivers for the people of Northern Ireland and everyone across our great country.”
But Rejoiners have been quick to retweet a post from Ms Truss just four months before the historic Brexit referendum in which she threw her support behind the Remain campaign.
The tweet, date February 20, 2016, read: “I am backing Remain as I believe it is in Britain’s economic interest and means we can focus on vital economic and social reform at home.”
But David Henig, co-founder of the UK Trade Forum, has shot down Rejoiners, arguing the historic tweets from Ms Truss about her support for Remain are simply not relevant anymore.
He tweeted: “Good grief, so many people retweeting Truss Remain tweets now, and it really isn’t relevant.
“We’re in 2021 and trying to find a stable relationship with the EU, not 2016 or 2019.
“The EU is not an easy party to negotiate with whatever you voted.
“The Conservative Party much worse.”
Mr Henig added: “Still the case that the UK needs to resolve its internal negotiation on the EU relationship, and we have yet to manage to do so.
“Then we have to fit that to what the EU will do.
“What we voted in 2016 is less important than our approach now – if only.”
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Ms Truss faces the task of trying to make a breakthrough with the EU over the UK’s implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The UK and EU have been at loggerheads over the issue following the departure from the bloc at the start of this year.
Lord Frost had claimed large parts of the mechanism needed to be overhauled as it simply wasn’t working – an argument that has been repeatedly shut down by the EU.
Several rounds of talks between the former UK Brexit minister and European counterpart Mr Sefcovic have ended in stalemate.
Britain has suggested on several occasions it could invoke Article 16 of the Protocol, which would see large parts if not all of the agreement ripped up.
Brussels has responded strongly by warning there would be fierce retaliation from its side if the UK pressed ahead with this move.
But Ms Truss has received a huge early boost after Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin expressed optimism talks between the UK and EU are in track for progress.
He said Lord Frost’s replacement as Britain’s lead negotiator has not changed that, adding Ms Truss “gets it in terms of what is required”.
Mr Martin told Newstalk radio in Ireland: “I was worried about it when I heard of the resignation because that was a potential destabiliser in terms of the Brexit chemistry that had been developing in the last month.
“We were on a track – the European Union and the United Kingdom. I think we still are.
“I think Liz Truss gets it in terms of what is required.”
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