Frost issues new message to EU over hated Brexit deal: Poll shows why change is essential

UK cannot return to EU social model after Brexit says Frost

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Lord Frost has been praised for standing firm on the Brexit deal, insisting that trade should be able to flow freely between Northern Ireland and Ireland without the involvement of the European Court of Justice. Brussels, which would prefer to ensure that trade is taking place in accordance with EU law, is pushing for the court to keep its role.

But the Brexit Minister has highlighted that the majority of people in Northern Ireland believe the deal is not acceptable in its current form.

Lord Frost shared the findings of a new Lord Ashcroft poll on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

The poll found that views on the Northern Ireland Protocol vary significantly from the supporters of one Northern Ireland political party to the next.

There was a stark contrast between the percentage of respondents who support the DUP and believe the Protocol should be scrapped (85) and the percentage of respondents who support Sinn Féin and believe there are no problems with the deal (60).

Despite this, Lord Frost said there are some “striking points” in the polling that the EU should pay attention to.

First, he noted the “strong divisions of opinion between communities”, as is highlighted above.

More significantly, he wrote: “Even allowing for that, 78 percent think some change to current arrangements is necessary.”

He added: “Only 21 percent say there are no problems.”

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The 78 percent who believe some change is needed is broken down into three separate categories.

Nine percent of the poll’s respondents claimed the Protocol is currently “too much of a burden” and is in need of “serious reform”.

Thirty-three percent said it was wrong altogether and ought to be scrapped.

Just over one-third (36 percent) said the Protocol is currently unacceptable but would be acceptable “with some adjustments”.

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These findings are likely to boost Lord Frost with renewed confidence when he next clashes with EU leaders on the flexibility of the agreement.

The UK has threatened to trigger Article 16 of the Protocol if Brussels does not accept some of its demands.

This would allow for parts of the Protocol to be suspended if they are causing serious difficulties.

The threat has been met with a furious response from the EU, with some officials claiming to have lost “trust” in British negotiators.

But Lord Frost has insisted he will stand his ground, noting: “Intensive talks will continue this… week.”

He said: “Maros Sefcovic [Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations] and I will talk twice to steer the process, in the hope of making worthwhile progress towards agreed solutions before Christmas.”

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