Boris Johnson tells EU he is 'sticking up' for peace as he prepares to blow up Brexit deal over Northern Ireland row

BORIS Johnson today insisted he was "sticking up" for peace in a final warning to stubborn EU bosses before blowing up the Brexit deal.

Fresh from banging heads together in Northern Ireland, the PM also told Brussels chiefs that red tape is inflaming the cost of living.

Liz Truss will tomorrow signal the UK's intent to rip up parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol in a dramatic escalation of tensions.

Grilled today if this was wise given it would trigger a trade war with the EU, the PM said he had no choice but to defend peacekeeping.

He said: "What we're doing is sticking up for the Belfast Good Friday Agreement and what we're doing is trying to protect and preserve the government of Northern Ireland.

"There's a cost of living issue, but that's certainly not being helped by extra barriers to trade, extra burdens on business that have been caused by the Protocol."

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Mr Johnson, who faced booing protesters on arrival, said all five party leaders he met on his whirlwind dash to Northern Ireland agreed the arrangement needed fixing.

And he urged all the parties – including the DUP – to get round the negotiating table and break the stalemate paralysing Stormont.

The PM said: "I think everybody should be rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck into the government of Northern Ireland."

Northern Ireland's Assembly is currently frozen as the DUP refuses to nominate a Speaker over their Protocol qualms.

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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson demanded Mr Johnson do his "duty" and tear up the Protocol, adding he needed to see "decisive action" before he could be talked back from the ledge.

But Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald accused Mr Johnson of "placating the DUP" by vowing to amend the arrangement.

She said: "People are facing incredible difficulties in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, and it's simply not acceptable.

"It's not good enough for anybody, the DUP or the British Government, to hold society here to ransom."

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Britain is not happy with the amount of EU red tape slapped on firms selling into Northern Ireland and wants to scrap all checks. Brussels has offered to bin some paperwork but is still insisting on strict rules.


After Brexit, Northern Ireland essentially remained part of the EU's frictionless trading bloc to avoid creating a hard border with the Republic and flaring fresh nationalist violence in the province. But the result is that checks on goods are now needed between Britain and Northern Ireland – known as the Northern Ireland Protocol.


As well as creating nuisance red tape for British firms just wanting to move goods into Northern Ireland, Ulster's unionists are furious that it essentially cuts them apart from the UK. They are now refusing to join the devolved administration, threatening to leave Northern Ireland without a government.


Britain and the EU have been haggling over the arrangements for months now but have reached a stalemate. Brussels offered to scrap 80 per cent of food checks and half of all customs checks. But Liz Truss says there are far too many strings attached – saying it would require the UK to play by the EU's stringent rulebook.

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