Boris accused of treating EU like Russia with Brexit row as Coveney slams UK defiance

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Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney has blamed Boris Johnson for potentially using Brexit to wreck Western unity in Ukraine. The UK, US, and the European Union have remained remarkably united in their efforts to support Ukraine and sanction Russia over Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion. However, Mr Coveney told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that Boris Johnson’s decision to unilaterally scrap the Northern Ireland protocol could endanger that solidarity.

He accused Mr Johnson of treating the European Union like he was treating Russia.

This comes as former Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost called on the PM to show the “same leadership” he had shown over Ukraine to scrap elements of the protocol.

Writing in the Telegraph this week, Lord Frost wrote: “Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have shown they are leaders in Ukraine.

“They must now show the same determination in Northern Ireland and finally re-establish self-government for the whole of the UK.”

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Mr Coveney furiously condemned this comparison, saying that this was “not the way to approach a problem with a neighbour, a friend, and allies and partners, which the UK has across Europe”.

Ms Ridge grilled him on this remark, asking: “You said that Boris Johnson shouldn’t take the same approach in Northern Ireland as he did with Ukraine, what did you mean by that?”

The Irish minister explained: “Lord Frost encouraged the PM to show the same leadership in Northern Ireland as he has shown in Ukraine and to rip up the protocol.

“We are getting a senior figure in the Conservative Party calling on his Prime Minister to break international law and to create huge problems for Britain’s neighbour in Ireland.

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“This would create unnecessary tension with the EU at a time when we all need to be working together to solve problems, not least of all in Ukraine

“There are 30,000 Ukrainians who have come to Ireland so far seeking refuge and safety, there are 5.5 million people who have arrived in the EU as a whole.

“The idea that we would ratchet up the tension on something else, that we have dealt with over six years, which is the decision to leave the EU, that we ratchet it up now to new heights is deeply unhelpful.

“The EU wants to show flexibility, it wants to compromise, and continue to negotiate.”


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Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng reiterated the British position this morning, saying it was “absolutely right” that the UK should unilaterally scrap the NI protocol despite EU objections.

This comes as Mr Johnson visits Northern Ireland on Monday amid a political crisis sparked by tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He is expected to tell political leaders that “there will be a necessity to act” on the protocol if the EU does not change its position.

Following the 5 May election, the anti-protocol Democratic Unionist Party has refused to engage with the assembly.

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