Northern Ireland news

Lord Barwell says he is 'pretty sure it's not true' British government underestimated impact of NI Protocol

Ex-British Prime Minister Theresa May and her former chief of staff Gavin Barwell (left). Picture Brian Lawless/PA Wire

LORD Barwell, the former chief of staff to Theresa May, said he is "pretty sure it's not true" that the British government underestimated the impact of the NI Protocol when it agreed to it.

He also said that Boris Johnson's government "knew it was a bad deal".

His comments came after UK Brexit minister Lord Frost said that the UK had "underestimated the effect of the protocol on goods movements to Northern Ireland".

The protocol is the part of the Brexit deal that creates a trade border between Northern Ireland and Britain.

Lord Barwell, who was senior advisor to Mrs May from 2017 until 2019 and was heavily involved in her Brexit policy when she was British prime minister, responded to Lord Frost's comments in a post on Twitter.

He wrote: "It's tempting to believe that - despite all the warnings - the government 'underestimated the effect of the protocol', but I'm pretty sure it's not true.

"They knew it was a bad deal but agreed it to get Brexit done, intending to wriggle out of it later.

"The EU has no intention of letting the UK wriggle out of what it signed up to, so we should expect UK/EU relations to get worse before they get better."

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