A video of Boris Johnson claiming the Northern Ireland Protocol did not come up in talks with Joe Biden is going viral.
Lawyer and filmmaker Peter Stefanovic showed a clip in which the prime minister said the Brexit issue did not come up at all during his 90-minute meeting with the US president.
But Stefanovic reminded viewers that Biden suggested to journalists before his meeting with Johnson that the Protocol would be on the agenda.
What Biden and the White House say
“On the protocols, I feel very strongly about those,” Biden said in a clip.
He added: “We spent an enormous amount of time and effort in the United States, it was a major bipartisan effort.
“And I would not at all like to see, nor might I add would many of my republican colleagues, like to see a change in the Irish courts, and the end result being a closed border again.”
Stefanovic then looked into a statement from the White House after Tuesday’s meeting between the leaders.
The statement read: “They also discussed Northern Ireland, and president Biden reiterated his longstanding support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace.”
Senior minister said the Protocol ‘isn’t written in stone’
In July, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng claimed nobody “had any idea” about the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol before Britain quit the European Union.
The protocol, part of the Brexit divorce deal agreed by the UK and Brussels, effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.
This means checks on goods being sent from Great Britain into the single market – and in some cases could result in prohibitions on certain products that do not comply with EU rules.
The protocol was put in place to ensure there would be no hard border with Ireland, but it has instead effectively placed a trade barrier in the Irish Sea.
Speaking to Sky News on Thursday morning, Kwarteng said: “We want to be in a situation where we can actually renegotiate it. The Northern Ireland protocol isn’t written in stone, it’s not something that was going to last forevermore.”
Kwarteng suggested that the EU “is a bit inflexible” on the protocol, despite the UK having already signed a Brexit agreement with the bloc – and claimed the government wants to see if they can “make it work more smoothly”.
EU refused to renegotiate Northern Ireland Protocol
And Brexit minister David Frost threatened the UK would change the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally as he complained about the “purist” way the Protocol was being implemented.
But European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said the EU would not agree to a “renegotiation of the protocol”.
In April this year, EU officials voiced their concerns that the UK would not respect post-Brexit agreements.
The European Parliament had condemned the UK’s “unilateral actions”, which they said were “in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement”.
At the time, MEPs also called on the UK government to “act in good faith and fully implement the terms of the agreements which it has signed’ – including the protocol.