One argument used by the UK to justify renegotiating the Northern Ireland protocol is that it was agreed in a bit of rush. It was drafted “in challenging circumstances”, No 10 said on Monday. Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, said in his speech yesterday that many in the UK feel the protocol was concluded at “a moment of EU overreach when the UK’s negotiating hand was tied”.

In an interview on the Today programme this morning Nathalie Loiseau, a former French Europe minister who is now an MEP, said it was wrong to claim the protocol was negotiated in haste. She explained:

It took months and there was another offer on the table when Theresa May was prime minister which was called the British backstop, the Irish backstop at that time.

It was rejected by some members of the Tory party and then we came to the Irish protocol but not in 14 hours, it took months to negotiate it, and it was the very same person, Lord Frost, who says he doesn’t agree with the protocol.

Loiseau welcomed the EU decision to propose changes to the protocol, and she urged the British to stop “posturing” and to recognise the protocol’s advantages. She said:

I’m comfortable with the fact that the [European] Commission is looking to go the extra mile, and fix the problems and try to find a solution within the protocol.

I think pragmatism and good will is really on the EU’s side and I sincerely hope that the [British] posturing of denying the benefits of the protocol [ends], because there are many benefits of the protocol.

Nathalie Loiseau.
Nathalie Loiseau. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

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