Lord Frost might just be serious about rewriting the Northern Ireland protocol

Many have assumed that the UK’s attempt to tear up the treaty is a negotiating tactic, writes John Rentoul

Tuesday 12 October 2021 15:58
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<p>Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, warns the EU against a ‘historic misjudgement’ </p>

Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, warns the EU against a ‘historic misjudgement’

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I had assumed that David Frost, the Brexit minister, was demanding the rewriting of the Northern Ireland protocol as a negotiating tactic. You can see how that might work. He demands new rules on sausages plus the removal of the European Court from its role in enforcing the protocol. The EU side offers a concession on sausages; the UK side agrees to drop the demand about the European Court. A sensible compromise, and both sides would be happy.

There is another possibility, however, which is that Lord Frost is entirely serious, not just about sausages, but about renegotiating part of a treaty to remove the role of the European Court.

For many people, this is a laughable idea, but I think there is a danger that two groups of people might indeed be guilty of a “historic misjudgement”, as Lord Frost puts it in his speech in Lisbon today. British Remainers and EU negotiators might regard Lord Frost asking to rewrite a treaty he himself negotiated just two years ago as ridiculous.

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