Fresh Brexit talks fail to reach agreement over Northern Ireland Protocol

Brexit minister Lord Frost and European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic

Brexit minister Lord Frost and Penny Mordaunt sitting opposite European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic and Richard Szostak - Credit: PA

Talks between Britain and the EU on the implementation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in Northern Ireland have broken up without agreement.

Brexit minister Lord Frost and European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic ended their discussions in London with no sign of a breakthrough.

Ahead of the talks Lord Frost warned that time was running out to reach agreement and called on the EU to adopt a “common sense” approach to checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Sefcovic warned that Brussels would act “firmly and resolutely” if the UK unilaterally decided to delay checks intended to ensure there was no return to a hard border with the Republic.

Following three-and-a-half hours of talks, Lord Frost said they had had a “frank and honest discussion” but that there had been “no breakthroughs” over the Northern Ireland Protocol in the agreement.

He said that the two sides had, however, agreed to carry on talking in an effort to achieve a breakthrough.

“The problem we’ve got is the protocol is being implemented in a way which is causing disruption in Northern Ireland and we had some pretty frank and honest discussions about that situation today,” he said.

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“There weren’t any breakthroughs. There aren’t any breakdowns either and we’re going to carry on talking.

“What we really now need to do is very urgently find some solutions which support the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, support the peace process in Northern Ireland and allow things to return to normal.”

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