Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal negotiations labelled ‘amateur’ as he’s warned US pact at risk

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The former UK representative has hit out at the Prime Minister’s plan to change the Brexit withdrawal agreement which threatens to break international law. The Government has pressed ahead with its internal market bill which would allow trade to continue between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK if there is no formal trading relationship struck with Brussels.

The legislation championed by a number of high profile ministers in the Commons has already received widespread criticism from global leaders and rejected by the House of Lords.

In a damning assessment, Lord Darroch described the plan as “negotiating for beginners” and outlined a number of consequences it could pose the UK on the global stage – including with Washington.

Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, he said: “It is not just about a free trade deal with the US.

“If we end up breaking international law in a way that is threatened, that affects our global reputation, our standing up for international law, for human rights, for justice everywhere, it has much wider implications.

“I find it unconscionable to imagine that we would do that.

“I found it extraordinary that a government minister said at the dispatch box that we were going to break international law albeit in a limited way.”

Lord Darroch insisted the play by Mr Johnson would not force the EU to make concessions on a trade deal.

Prior to winning the election Joe Biden warned the Good Friday Agreement must not become a “casualty of Brexit”.

The Prime Minister has already held talks with the President-elect over the complex situation in Ireland after Brexit and Lord Darroch noted it was significant that Mr Biden phoned the Irish Taoiseach afterwards.

Speaking to ITV on Wednesday evening, Lord Darroch continued to question the negotiating hand played by Mr Johnson in post-Brexit talks.

He said: “I don’t know whether this is some sort of clever negotiating ploy, in which case I think it’s a bit from negotiating for beginners, I don’t think it is very clever, I don’t think it works well in terms of persuading the EU to make concessions to us.

“But I am sure he understands the implications of going down this route, not least because he and Joe Biden discussed it earlier today and significantly Biden straight afterwards called the Irish prime Minister and I imagine downloaded his conversation.

“So I think Biden is signalling there that he will stay close to the Irish Government.”

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said Mr Biden remained “very committed to the Good Friday Agreement” following talks on Tuesday.

He added: “Particularly in relation to Brexit, he would favour, obviously, a deal between the European Union and Britain.”

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Mr Johnson said he had an “excellent” first conversation with US president-elect.

He said: “It was an excellent conversation that flowed over all the things that have really traditionally united the UK and the US so it was a return to the kind of business we are used to doing together.

“Sticking up for democracy around the world, human rights, free trade, Nato – Joe Biden is a very strong believer in the transatlantic alliance and indeed the special relationship – and above all climate change.”

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