Last night London, Belfast and Brussels held a virtual summit to head off a new crisis over his Brexit trade deal. The European Commission did not back down over its protocol that has disrupted food supplies to Ulster supermarkets.
Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic apologised for last week’s botched bid to intervene in vaccine supplies to the UK. But he insisted on “rigorous implementation” of the deal that has erected a “border across the Irish Sea”.
The talks, chaired by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, and involving Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster, were adjourned until next week when Mr Sefcovic will come to London to seek a pragmatic solution.
He suggested it might be found “if all the flexibilities we agreed would be put into practice”.
This vague outcome is unlikely to appeal to hard-line Unionists, whose MP Ian Paisley yesterday said “tea and sympathy would not cut the mustard”.
The politicians met against a background of growing sectarian tension. Customs officials were pulled out of Ulster ports after militant Loyalists posted threatening messages on the offices of MPs across Northern Ireland, including Stephen Farry, proEurope Alliance MP.
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