In an era when very few issues garner bipartisan support in the United States, senior US politicians on both sides of the political divide have been speaking out to warn the UK that any steps it takes which could jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement and risk the return of a hard border in Ireland would have serious negative consequences for the possibility of a new US-UK trade deal.
President Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland, former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, recently warned of the risk of creating a hard “border by accident” on the island of Ireland, stemming from Boris Johnson’s newly drafted plan to rewrite the withdrawal agreement.
Mulvaney stated that “The one thing I keep trying to assure is on the front of everybody’s mind is avoiding a border by accident. The Trump administration, state department and the US Congress would all be aligned in the desire to see the Good Friday agreement preserved to see the lack of a border maintained.”
Mulvaney’s intervention follows recent tweets by the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, after the UK government published its Internal Market Bill and admitted in the House of Commons that it would breach international law. “We can’t allow the Good Friday agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden stated.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat heavyweights like the chairman of the powerful “Ways and Means” committee, Richie Neal, have also warned in recent days that Congress will refuse to ratify any UK-US trade deal that comes before it if the British Government fails to abide by the terms of the withdrawal agreement.