Leo Varadkar's comments on UK slammed by Mordaunt
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Leo Varadkar, the current Irish deputy prime minister, has warned the EU against doing any more deals with the UK, after saying the country cannot be trusted. This prompted International Trade minister Penny Mordaunt to hit back on BBC Question Time on Thursday evening. The remarks are the latest in a tense Brexit standoff between the EU and the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Mr Varadkar said that Britain was a country that “doesn’t necessarily keep its word”.
This comes after a former adviser to the Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings, said the UK had always intended to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Boris Johnson’s ex-adviser said the plan had been to “ditch the bits we didn’t like” after winning power.
Ms Mordaunt said on the BBC panel programme: “The Protocol was never meant to impact negatively on day to day life in Northern Ireland and that is not what has happened.
“We have seen on 0.5 percent of EU trade, we have 20 percent of the EU’s checks.”
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She continued: “People who were trading without friction before we left are now facing these enormous barriers.
“What we are seeing now is the EU present proposals in response to ours. They have realised that something has to change.
“I think this is progress. I take issue with people who say we haven’t done this in good faith.”
Question Time host Fiona Bruce interjected: “You have Irish Deputy PM Leo Varadkar saying ‘don’t make any agreement with the British government until you can be confident that this is a country that can honour its promises’.”
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Ms Mordaunt responded: “I think we do honour our promises.
“The fact we stuck to our guns and left the EU shows these things are important to us.
“But we must also make sure that this is implemented in a very practical way.
“There is no need for this friction to be there and we are not going to tolerate it being there.”
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European Commission Vice-President Maros Šefčovič has said he is “not ready to renegotiate” the Northern Ireland Protocol.
On Wednesday, he revealed a plan to reduce 80 percent of the post-Brexit checks on goods arriving into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
However, he has insisted he had “no mandate to renegotiate protocol”.
The UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost feels the measures fall short of their demands to remove the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from an oversight role.
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