But to the Director of the European Policy Centre, Dr Fabian Zuleeg, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss’ number one priority is not the Good Friday Agreement – but rather their standing within the Conservative Party.
“In many ways, this is not about Northern Ireland. This is about internal politics within the Conservative Party. Which is about positioning yourself for a leadership position, positioning yourself for elections.”
“Many people hoped that there would be a more pragmatic approach, that there would be now a possibility to work through some of the practical issues.”
When asked whether Boris Johnson and Liz Truss are playing a political game, he said: “Yes. And I think we have seen that for quite a long time. The politicisation of the debate clearly was there under Lord Frost. It has continued with Liz Truss, which is a shame.
However, the alternative – placing a customs border between the two Irelands – would flout the Good Friday Agreement. Liz Truss has described it as the Government’s “first priority to uphold.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he noticed the UK has been unwilling to implement any of the proposals set out by the EU to broker the protocol stalemate, prompting him to say: “But if you’re not willing to do that, it clearly shows this is not actually about the Good Friday Agreement.
According to Dr Zuleeg, both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss are not seriously participating in talks to resolve the Northern Ireland issue. Since the DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson outright rejected the possibility of power-sharing with Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland has found itself in political limbo.
Without the DUP’s consent, Sinn Fein, now the largest party in the Stormont Assembly, cannot form a Government and implement its political agenda.
However, following the confidence vote in Boris Johnson, Liz Truss could face the Conservative rebels’ revolt in Parliament. And the EU is preparing to take legal action against the UK to block the passage of the law. “At the moment, the UK government is choosing to continue to make this a political issue, which actually makes it much less likely to be resolved”, Dr Zuleeg said.