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Thrown us under the bus! Brexit outrage erupts at Boris – furious DUP chief blasts EU deal

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Earlier on Monday, the Prime Minister spoke to Charles Michel, European Council President, about issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol, which erects a customs border between the country and Great Britain. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP leader, has now challenged the Prime Minister to “put right what he did wrong” with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The DUP leader added Mr Johnnson has the choice whether his legacy will be Brexit or the break-up of the Union.

At the Queen’s University Belfast as part of an Assembly election leaders lecture series, Sir Jeffrey was asked whether he believes the Conservative Party had thrown the DUP under the bus.

He said: “Sadly under pressure to get Brexit done, the Prime Minister I’m afraid, reneged on his commitment, the commitment he gave my party not to have a border in the Irish Sea, a commitment he gave to respect Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom and when he signed up to the protocol, he signed up to a border in the Irish Sea.

“So it’s not a question of throwing the DUP under the bus, the Prime Minister threw Northern Ireland under the bus, and the harm that this protocol is doing to Northern Ireland, I think the Prime Minister now recognises but we need him to do something about it.”

Sir Jeffrey then added Mr Johnson’s Government “still haven’t done what they said they would do” in a command paper from July 2021, which proposed “a new balance in our arrangements covering Northern Ireland” including increased freedom of goods between the UK countries.

The DUP leader continued: “So I think what the Government need to do is to get on with either reaching agreement with the EU which respects Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom, removes the Irish Sea border and puts in place practical arrangements that respects the UK’s integrity or the UK government acts unilaterally.

“The Prime Minister has the opportunity to put right what he did wrong and he will be judged in history by whether he does or does not do that.

“Here’s the challenge for Boris Johnson, will his legacy be Brexit or will his legacy be the break-up of the Union?”

READ MORE: Brexit LIVE: ‘Ultra-Remainers’ score major own goal over Boris remarks

In a meeting on March 12 with taoiseach Micheál Martin, Mr Johnson said “significant changes” are still needed with the Northern Ireland protocol.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The prime minister reiterated the need to make significant changes to the Northern Ireland protocol in order to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland and safeguard the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions.

“He said that while greater ambition and flexibility was needed from the EU in the negotiations, it was his hope that the same spirit of cooperation that had characterised the UK/EU relationship in respect of Ukraine could also be applied to resolving the issues with the protocol.”

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However, ahead of his meeting with Mr Johnson in London, Mr Martin said there is a growing view “within Northern Ireland, particularly in Northern Ireland business and industry, that the protocol is working”.

He said: “Anybody I’ve met in Northern Ireland, all want to continue access to the EU single market. It’s a good basic principle to start off on.

“And my view, given the improved relationship between the UK and the EU as a result of the partnership on Ukraine, I would like to think that in the fullness of time we will be able to resolve this issue.

“But we’ll take it step by step. And there’s a channel there between the European Union and the United Kingdom that’s ongoing and we’re going to take this step by step.”

It comes after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told officials to be ready to invoke Article 16 on Friday, as she attempts to force a quick deal with the EU, according to the Times.

Article 16 allows both the EU and UK to take unilateral “strictly necessary” measures if applying the protocol “leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”.

Ms Truss, who took over from ex-Brexit Minister Lord David Frost in December, is thought to have “lost faith” in negotiations and wants Mr Johnson to warn Brussels the UK is ready to suspend parts of the Protocol if a deal is not reached before voters in Northern Ireland go to the polls in May.

A source, who described the EU as being “totally unreasonable”, told the broadsheet: “Liz has lost faith in the negotiations and wants the PM to tell (Ursula Von der Leyen) to force an intense period of negotiations or trigger Article 16 by May.”

However, another source claimed: “The PM is more hardline on this than Liz.”



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'Have to kick the pedal to the metal' Ex-Ukrainian leader slams Macron tank aide hesitancy

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Ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk sat down on LBC Radio to discuss NATO leaders. NATO has been allying themselves with Ukraine, sending help and weaponry and taking fleeing Ukrainian refugees. NATO members held a conference on the Russian invasion earlier this week to discuss more ways to help Ukraine.

Mr Yatsenyuk pushed for Macron to send over military tanks as promised, slamming him for dragging his feet, and claiming that the war in Ukraine affects the security of every European country.

Mr Yatsenyuk said: “That’s what Putin is closely watching, as for now, Putin didn’t expect this kind of unity and consolidated and concerted actions against the Russian federation.

“But you know, the time is running and we don’t have enough time to wait until some EU member states decide to supply more weapons to Ukraine.

“Or to impose tougher and stronger sanctions on the Russian Federation, so the EU has to be decisive and they have to speed up the process of new sanctions.

“And the shipment and delivery of weapons to Ukraine, because it’s not just about Ukraina and they realise it clearly, this is about the free world.

“And this is about the security of every single nation in the European Union, so the French have to kick the pedal to the metal.”

JUST IN: Putin’s ‘biggest’ Achilles’ heel exposed as ‘derided’ Russian despot facing furious REVOLT

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky explained this week that he expected “serious steps” from Western-allied countries.

Mr Zelensky repeated the calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine to be imposed by NATO forces and complained that the Western allies had not yet provided Ukraine with sufficient planes, up to date modern anti-missile systems, tanks or anti-ship weapons.

Mr Zelensky added: “At these three summits we will see who is our friend, who is our partner and who sold us out and betrayed us.”

President Zelensky also expressed that he was grateful for the support Ukraine was continuing to receive from individual NATO member countries from around the world.

Mr Zelensky added: “But NATO has yet to show what the alliance can do to save people,” he said. “It feels like we’re in the grey zone between the West and Russia, but we’re protecting all our and your shared values.

READ MORE:Mum left fuming after letter describes her ‘active’ four-year-old daughter as overweight

Mr Johnson added: “We’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today, as we are, sanctioning the Wagner Group, looking at what we can do to stop Putin using his gold reserves, and also doing more to help the Ukrainians defend themselves.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been playing an active role in trying to de-escalate the war with Russia by imposing tight sanctions on Russia to try and stop Putin’s warpath of destruction.

Ms Truss has warned that infighting between NATO countries at the moment could be highly detrimental for progress in ending the war.

Mr Truss said: “Russia’s targeting of critical national infrastructure is calculated and dangerous.

“It shows Putin is prepared to risk lives to sow division and confusion among allies.”



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Brexit news: What happens when Article 16 is triggered?

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After Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) was confirmed, the two parties have been attempting to renegotiate terms for a special Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland. Coined the Northern Ireland protocol it’s been a point of contention that’s led to threats from each side of triggering a mechanism called Article 16. But what is it?

What is Article 16?

The UK and EU agreed to the creation of the Northern Ireland protocol, in October 2019.

By allowing goods to flow freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the deal removed the threat of a hard border.

But the arrangement has also resulted in what’s been labelled as an ‘Irish Sea border’.

READ MORE: ‘Totally undeniable’ MPs colluded with Remainers to try stop Brexit

Goods that now arrive into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK are subjected to more stringent checks and controls.

In the scenario that either the UK or EU feel that the protocol is leading to significant issues or hampering their capacity to trade, then they have the option of activating Article 16.

The component sets out the process for taking unilateral “safeguard” measures, which in reality would amount to suspending parts of the deal.

Specifically, Article 16 says safeguard measures can be taken if the protocol is leading to serious “economic, societal or environmental difficulties” that are liable to persist.

He said: “Triggering Article 16 now would severely disrupt the unity of the UK and EU response to the war in Ukraine.

“It is thus perhaps not surprising that key US figures chose this week to restate that any uncertainty around the stability of the Good Friday Agreement would hinder a future UK-US trade deal.”

In recent months talks between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic have stalled, leading to calls from Brexiteers for the UK to act.

However, Professor Menon cautioned that triggering Article 16 won’t “rid” Britain of the protocol.

He added: “I think the British Government if it triggers Article 16 will do something relatively small and contained.

“And then there’s not a massive bust-up. You don’t end up getting rid of the protocol. You end up with months if not years of negotiations, mediation and arbitration.

“So, it’s a way of doing something but it’s not a way of solving anything. In a sense you’re still stuck with the protocol and you’re still negotiating about the future of the protocol.”

In essence, were Article 16 to be triggered it wouldn’t have a huge impact on the ground.

Many of the checks on goods flowing from Britain to Northern Ireland have already been unilaterally suspended.

Triggering the mechanism itself would only start a formal dispute process that requires both sides to go into talks to resolve.



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NATO slammed as former US Army chief exposes ‘two big issues’ in united Russia response

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US Army vice chief of staff general Jack Keane, sat down on LBC radio to talk about the NATO conference which took place earlier this week. Mr Keane discussed the possibility that Putin could deploy chemical biological weapons on the battlefield. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already used the highly condemned thermobaric weapons since the war started just over a month ago.

The US Army chief acknowledged there had been no public policy declaration on the consequences Putin would face if he was to take such a barbaric action.

Mr Keane said: “Listen I was very disappointed by the NATO summit.

“I totally applaud the fact that they’re going to increase by 40k troops in Eastern Europe.

“And they’re increasing sanctions and it seems like a sense of unity.

“But on two big issues, it’s got to be disappointing, there’s no NATO public policy declaration.

JUST IN: Putin’s ‘biggest’ Achilles’ heel exposed as ‘derided’ Russian despot facing furious REVOLT

Mr Keane added: “At the end of that summit to deal with this particular issue, chemical biological weapons and nuclear weapons which the Russians have been waving in front of our face now for almost 30 days.

“What we need is… Think policy statement, not something that’s left to a reporter to ask a question on.

“And then you get a statement that you just repeated, which leads to more confirmation than anything else.

“A much better statement, using my words… I don’t want to put words into other people’s mouths.

READ MORE: Mum left fuming after letter describes her ‘active’ four-year-old daughter as overweight

“But with me, the use of any form of WMB would be unacceptable.

“We will not let it stand, it will result in decisive consequential actions and all options are on the table.

“Words to that effect, in a public policy statement, and we didn’t get it and it’s really unfortunate.

“And what it does it leaves in the minds of Putin and his  leaders just what would the reaction be, ambiguous like that and I think it’s very unfortunate.”

DON’T MISS: Russia scaling back invasion as troops retreat to eastern Ukraine after weeks of stalemate

Fear of the Russian military deploying chemical biological weapons has been heightened.

Ukrainian outlet InformNapalm has warned that: “Our conclusions may sound premature or too apocalyptic, but after the missile attacks and bombing of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, which the Russian army resorted to, we believe that it is necessary to make these data public and try to thwart any such intentions of Russia.”

And NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Thursday: “We’ve tried to be very clear about the gravity of the use of any such chemical weapons.

“These are agents that should never be employed and certainly not on the battlefield, as we are concerned Russia might.”



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