Brexit minister Lord David Frost said conflict over UK’s deal with the EU risks creating “cold mistrust” with the bloc.
Frost insisted that the European Union should accept a “substantial and significant change” to the deal, PA news agency has reported.
Speaking at the British-Irish Association conference in Oxford, Frost said the process is “holding back the potential for a new era of cooperation between like-minded states in a world which needs us to work together effectively.”
It comes as Brussels has consistently refused renegotiating the protocol, which unionists want abolished.
Under the protocol, Northern Ireland is kept in the EU’s single market, which prevents a hard border with Ireland but has created trade barriers with Britain.
Brexiteers taken aback by decaying EU relationship
Earlier this summer, Frost admitted Brexiteers have been taken aback by decaying relationships with the European Union.
Frost said Leavers dreamed of a sovereign Britain, but still in good terms with the bloc, according to The Guardian.
Boris Johnson rejected the European Union’s attempt to solve the issues arising from the post-Brexit agreement made by the UK government itself on Northern Ireland.
Johnson insisted the Withdrawal Agreement signed last year must be renegotiated, blaming Brussels for ‘insufficient’ solutions after the European Commission published proposals believed to make the Northern Ireland protocol easier to implement.
A UK government spokesperson told The Guardian that both the UK and the EU need to agree on “durable solutions”, and Brexit minister David Frost called for legal text changes to the protocol – or else the UK would seek to suspend parts of the deal, he threatened.
Tory says deal “not written in stone”
And business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the Northern Ireland protocol “isn’t written in stone” and added “a deal is a deal but it was not something that was going to last forevermore”.
Kwarteng also said nobody “had any idea” about the impact of the Northern Ireland protocol before Britain quit the European Union.
The EU has already given the UK grace periods and the European Commission said it will not rewrite the legal text agreed with Johnson two years ago.
In April this year, EU officials voiced their concerns that the UK would not respect post-Brexit agreements.
‘Unilateral actions in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement’
Austrian MEP Andreas Schieder, rapporteur for the Committee on Foreign Affairs, told a meeting: “Only a partnership in which both sides stick to their commitments has a future”.
The European Parliament had condemned the UK’s “unilateral actions”, which they said were “in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement”.
In April, MEPs also called on the UK government to “act in good faith and fully implement the terms of the agreement which it has signed’ – including the protocol.
Christophe Hansen, rapporteur for the Committee on International Trade, said: “Ratification of the agreement is not a vote of blind confidence in the UK government’s intention to implement our agreements in good faith.
“Rather, it is an EU insurance policy against further unilateral deviations from what was jointly agreed. Parliament will remain vigilant.”