Published: Fri, September 18, 2020

Mick Mulvaney warns against hard border in Northern Ireland

Mick Mulvaney warns against hard border in Northern Ireland

In the U.S., the president has no direct power over trade deals - they are a matter for Congress.

Mr Biden, who leads Donald Trump in the polls ahead of November's election, tweeted: 'Any trade deal between the USA and United Kingdom must be contingent upon respect for the Good Friday Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border.

Johnson's supporters branded Biden a "Boris hater" and ordered him not to lecture the prime minister.

The government's law officer for Scotland, Lord Keen QC, has stepped down in protest over Boris Johnson's controversial Brexit legislation.

"We've been crystal clear all along, we're committed to it. Rest assured, we want to resolve the issues with our European partners, but there is not going to be any hard border [in Ireland], certainly not applied by the United Kingdom".

With Raab making the rounds in the nation's capital, former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden Tweeted: "We can't allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit".

Ed Miliband, the opposition Labour Party's shadow business secretary, said Johnson's offer of a vote before the bill is used also failed to impress lawmakers from his party.

Conservative Party supporters of Johnson reacted furiously.

Biden on Wednesday echoed fears in Washington that a new U.K. Brexit bill, which would override the Withdrawal Agreement signed with the European Union past year, could result in a hard land border between Northern Ireland (part of the U.K.) and Ireland (an E.U. member) - and destabilize the peace brought by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

"We don't need lectures on the Northern Ireland peace deal from Mr. Biden", he told The Times of London. "If I were him I would worry more about the need for a peace deal in the U.S. to stop the killing and rioting before lecturing other sovereign nations".

A spokesman for Johnson suggested on Thursday that Biden had misunderstood the government's plans.

That has drawn strong rebuttals from the European Union, with spokesman Eric Mamer challenging Johnson to "ask any of the EU's hundreds of worldwide treaty partners" if the bloc "negotiated in good faith".

The French state-owned news network France 24 reported that Johnson said a free-trade deal is what "this country wants" and "what our friends and partners of the European Union expect of us".

The comments from the US Secretary of State followed senior Democrats in the US Congress who warned the UK PM that Washington would not support any free trade pact with Britain in case it did not succeed in upholding its commitments to Northern Ireland as part of Brexit.

© NICHOLAS KAMM/POOL/AFP via Getty Images The UK's foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, left, at a press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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