Secretary of State Dominic Raab is in Washington, where he is expected to try to reassure U.S. politicians about the recent Brexit twist.
Some US politicians are concerned about the British government̵
Sir. Raab will meet with US President Nancy Pelosi, who last week said there would be no trade agreement between Britain and the United States if the Northern Ireland peace deal was undermined.
No 10 have said the peace agreement will be upheld in any case.
Sir. Raab will meet with leading politicians, including his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, as well as the Democratic congresswoman, Mrs. Pelosi, who is speaking for the House of Representatives.
Threats to trade agreement between UK and US
Brexit is expected to be high on the agenda at the Washington meetings.
Earlier this week, a bill that would give the British government the power to override part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement – which Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with the EU in October last year – cleared its first hurdle.
It was passed by MPs in the House of Commons, but must now be passed by the House of Lords.
If the law goes into effect, it would be in violation of international law – a view that received an angry response from senior officials in the United States last week.
- What just happened to Brexit?
Mrs Pelosi said that if the United Kingdom violated international law and Brexit undermined the Good Friday Agreement – the NI Peace Agreement – there would be “absolutely no chance of a trade agreement between the United States and Britain passing Congress”.
Subsequently, four senior members of Congress also issued a similar warning on Tuesday, saying a British-US trade deal would be blocked if Britain could not retain the gains from the Good Friday deal.
In a letter to Mr Johnson, the four members of Congress said that plans to amend that part of the Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland (known as the Northern Ireland Protocol) could have “catastrophic consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and a broader process for maintaining peace on the island of Ireland. “.
“We therefore urge you to abandon any legally dubious and unfair effort to reject Northern Ireland’s protocol on the withdrawal agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine decades of progress in bringing peace to Northern Ireland,” the letter added.
No 10 responded to the letter, saying it took these steps to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement “is maintained in all circumstances and that harmful breaches do not inadvertently come into play, which could jeopardize the huge gains of the peace process”.
“We are absolutely committed to no hard border and no border infrastructure between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is about a legal safety net and not suddenly introducing East-West controls that are in direct conflict with the Belfast Agreement (Good Friday).”
Spokesman No. 10 added: “We will continue to engage with our US partners on a two-party basis to ensure that our positions are understood and to ensure that we conclude a trade agreement with broad support in the United States.”
In his talks on Wednesday, Mr Raab is expected to argue that the government’s plans are prudent and proportionate – and a response to what ministers describe as EU threats to block food imports.
Sir. Raab will also meet Mr Pompeo in the midst of continuing transatlantic tensions over Iran.
The US Secretary of State recently accused the United Kingdom and its European allies of “sitting with the Ayatollahs” to block further UN sanctions against Iran.