Brexit breakthrough imminent as Cleverly jets to Belfast for crunch talks

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is jetting to Northern Ireland for talks
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is jetting to Northern Ireland for talks

Mr Cleverly will be joined by Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris to meet political leaders as they address the Brexit deal

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A major Brexit breakthrough could be on the horizon as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly prepares for crunch talks in Northern Ireland.

Mr Cleverly will be joined by Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris to meet political leaders as they address the Brexit deal that has caused trade anguish in the country.

The Northern Ireland Protocol has been a topic of contention since it was agreed as part of the withdrawal agreement to avoid a hard border in Ireland post Brexit since October 2021.

The EU appears to have softened their approach to the Protocol in recent times.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week suggested that the Protocol has been “too strict”, admitting “mistakes” were made on both sides in handling Brexit.

The Taoiseach said he would be “flexible and reasonable” as both sides gather in a bid to solve issues that have arisen from the agreement.

Mr Cleverly and Mr Heaton-Harris’ visit will include a tour of Saintfield Garden Centre and Nursery.

Mr Cleverly said: “My preference is for a negotiated solution, but the UK’s priority is protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and preserving political stability in Northern Ireland.

“I am listening to the concerns of people and businesses in Northern Ireland and am keenly aware that the current situation isn’t working.

Leo Varadkar admitted 'mistakes were made' in Brexit talks
Leo Varadkar admitted 'mistakes were made' in Brexit talks

“We need to address those issues with the protocol that risk and undermine the place of NI in the UK.”

Mr Heaton-Harris said: “A solution to the problems created by the Northern Ireland Protocol is clearly desired by all across business and in government.

“As the Foreign Secretary has said, the Government is committed to resolving these problems as soon as possible.

“I am firmly of the belief too that what people in Northern Ireland want most is to see their elected politicians back at work.

“Accountable political leadership is fundamental to secure a sustainable future for all in NI.”