Britain warns EU time running out to fix N. Ireland accord

LONDON (AFP): The UK government on Monday said it stood ready to abandon a post-Brexit trading accord for Northern Ireland soon, unless the EU agreed to wholesale changes.

Speaking at the annual conference of the ruling Conservative party, Brexit minister David Frost said he anticipated a response from Brussels “over the next couple of weeks” regarding the province.

That would then trigger what Frost said should be a short period of negotiations that could lead to the government invoking a suspension clause — Article 16 — of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol.

“Will it be over by Christmas? I think something will be over by Christmas,” he said on the conference fringes, referring to the possible triggering of Article 16.

But the UK would give due notice to avoid destabilising Northern Ireland further, he added.

“I assume if we do use Article 16, the EU will look to retaliate” through trade tariffs on UK-wide goods, he added. “I hope they don’t. “The unity of the country is paramount, obviously, and we have to proceed on that basis.”

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