Post-Brexit talks between James Cleverly and Maros Sefcovic have been dismissed as “pointless”. The two officials yesterday held their first telephone conversation on the Northern Ireland Protocol since the formation of Rishi Sunak’s Government and praised their “good” conversation.
But Ben Habib said such discussions will take the UK nowhere.
The former Brexit Party MEP blasted Government Ministers for sitting “idly by” while Brussels works towards punishing the UK for leaving the EU.
Mr Sefcovic said following his conversation with the Foreign Secretary: “We agree that out teams will continue to engage on the Protocol.”
He added: “The EU’s commitment to finding joint solutions remains unwavering.
“It’s the only way to ensure certainty and predictability in Northern Ireland.”
The UK’s previous administration under Liz Truss said it was our “preference” to come to a negotiated settlement with Brussels, a position which Mr Sunak has not yet signalled he is interested in shifting from.
Countless reports have, however, suggested Brussels believe it is for the UK – not itself – to budge in the negotiations.
Mr Habib told Express.co.uk: “Endless, pointless negotiations have taken place with Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the EU.
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“There can be no one in our govt who does not understand this, yet they sit idly by while the province’s plight worsens.”
Mr Cleverly, like Mr Sefcovic, appeared confident following yesterday’s talks.
He wrote in a post on Twitter that the “priority must be upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and protecting political stability in Northern Ireland”.
On this front, too, Mr Habib stressed that the UK was already onto a loser.
The Brexit Watch Chairman said: “James Cleverly frames his comments about discussions with Sefcovic within the context of upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
“He seems deliberately to be ignoring that it is the Protocol which breaches that Agreement.”
Both London and Brussels have signalled their desire for talks to commence again “soon”.
Express.co.uk has approached the Foreign Office for comment.