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Frost presses EU to break Northern Ireland deadlock

Lord Frost

Lord Frost: wants further concessions

Brexit minister Lord Frost will press the EU to accept further concessions in order to break the deadlock over trade with Northern Ireland.

Talks resume in Brussels with the two sides locked in a dispute over the role of the European Court of Justice in the province.

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic has already offered to reduce its powers, with disputes being referred to an independent arbitration panel. The ECJ would be involved as a last resort only if this failed to find a solution.

Earlier this week, the European Commission offered to slash 80% of regulatory checks and cut customs processes on British goods moving to Northern Ireland.

But British government sources are insisting this is not enough and are pushing for the ECJ’s oversight to be removed altogether.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told Mr Sefcovic that proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol “fall short of what is needed”.

After the arguments descended into a dispute over sausages the stand-off has now erupted in so-called “ferret wars” over the free movement of pets across the Irish Sea. 

French fishermen have also repeated threats to blockade the Channel after the UK refused to issue permits for 35 trawlers to fish between six and 12 miles off the UK coast, where they could operate before Brexit.

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