Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Lord Frost hits out at ‘unconstructive’ EU over post-Brexit trade deal problems

Former Brexit minister Lord Frost (Peter Byrne/PA)
Former Brexit minister Lord Frost (Peter Byrne/PA)

Former Brexit minister Lord Frost has said it is “disappointing” the EU will not help resolve problems caused by the post-Brexit deal in Northern Ireland and “continues to be so unconstructive”.

The Conservative peer argued it was obvious the protocol needed fixing as he backed controversial plans by the Foreign Secretary to scrap parts of the arrangement.

The former chief Brexit negotiator also insisted there was no need for a trade war and that it would not be the UK’s choice.

The EU has threatened to retaliate with “all measures at its disposal” if the UK proceeds with new legislation overwriting sections of the protocol.

Critics have warned it would be an “unacceptable breach” of international law and fuel distrust of Britain.

The treaty agreed by the UK and EU as a way to maintain a free-flowing Irish land border has created economic barriers on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, causing resentment and anger among many unionists and loyalists.

The row has created an impasse in efforts to form a devolved government administration in Belfast.

The UK is planning unilateral action to introduce separate “green” and “red” lanes for goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, drawing a line between those destined to stay within the UK and those heading to the Republic of Ireland and beyond.

Speaking in the Lords for the first time since resigning from the frontbench last year, Lord Frost said: “We are told that fixing very obvious problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol will cause, it is said, ‘huge and irreparable damage to our foreign relations and international reputation’. I don’t agree with that.

“Any observer can see that protocol is undermining the Belfast Agreement, it’s weakening the Government’s ability to govern Northern Ireland. Any observer can see it needs fixing.

“There is no need for a trade war. If it comes, it won’t be our choice, I guess. Some argue that the war in Ukraine makes it the wrong moment to address this question. On the contrary, I think the great events that are under way make it all the more important for us to fix the issues that are dividing western countries.

“To me it makes it all the more surprising and disappointing that the EU will not help us solve this problem and continues to be so unconstructive.”

He added: “Of course it is right that we should remain open to negotiation; a negotiated settlement would still be better.

“But in my experience only clarity about objectives and robustness in presenting them gets results, and knowing the Foreign Secretary I am sure that is how she will intend to proceed.”

However, former national security adviser Lord Ricketts warned: “Seen in the perspective of a major war in Europe, both the substance and timing of that are massively ill-judged, in my view.

“If pursued it will confirm the view in European capitals that Britain is not to be trusted.”

He added: “Let’s back down from the brink of a major breach with the EU and let’s work together with EU countries for peace and stability in Europe.”

Lord Hannay of Chiswick, who served as UK ambassador to both the EU and UN, said: “This is not the time to drift into a confrontation over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol or to be threatening to take unilateral action to set aside explicit provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement. That is the height of irresponsibility.”

Former terror law watchdog and leading lawyer Lord Carlile of Berriew, said: “The breaking of that treaty by the United Kingdom is an unacceptable breach not just of the law but the law of nations and what is higher in law than the law of nations?”

Independent crossbencher and former ambassador Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who was author of the Article 50 mechanism by which the UK left the EU, warned the Lords could reject legislation that sought to unilaterally make changes to the protocol.

He said: “I would like people to believe that, if they conclude a deal with us, then that deal is likely to stick. That makes it easier to conclude a deal.

“I would like people to think it unthinkable that we would break a treaty commitment and start a trade war.

“I think this House still champions the rule of law.”