British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has played down the chances of reaching an agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol. His statement comes days after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said there was a new “window of opportunity” to end the negotiations.
Speaking to the House of Commons European Affairs Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday (November 15), Mr Cleverly said that while the climate for talks with EU officials had improved, there was again “a lot of work to do”.
“I don’t want people to be defeatist, but I also don’t want them to walk away thinking we’re making extraordinary progress”he declared.
The six weeks of Liz Truss’ government have created a more positive atmosphere between British and European officials. This development seems to continue under Mr. Sunak’s government.
Mr. However, Cleverly’s comments seem to follow the pattern “good cop, bad cop”with one UK minister or EU official hanging on to the prospect of an imminent deal before the other tempers expectations.
Last Friday, Mr. Sunak said that a new “window of opportunity” combined with “benevolence and pragmatism” could soon lead to an agreement on the implementation of the protocol on Northern Ireland, following talks with Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin in the Anglo-Irish Council.