Ireland’s Europe Minister has said he hopes Liz Truss will set a “good” pattern and “be her own person” when dealing with Brexit issues if she replaces Boris Johnson as next UK prime minister.
Thomas Byrne, Minister for European Affairs and Fianna Fail TD for Meath East, said he does not believe the door on resetting talks on Brexit has closed.
He said it is “difficult to know” if Ms Truss or her Tory leadership rival Rishi Sunak will have a different approach to dealing with issues like the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Polls have so far indicated that Ms Truss is leading the race ahead of Mr Sunak.
Mr Byrne told Newstalk’s On The Record show that he hopes Ms Truss will be her “own person” when it comes to Brexit issues.
He said: “At the end of the day, the British still have legal obligations, they still have to do what they said they would do.
“It’s no doubt it is in their economic interest and that I think that is becoming clearer all the time. They don’t want a trade war with the EU.
“We certainly don’t want a trade war with Britain.
“But, at the end of the day, they will have to decide not to ratchet things up.”
He also said Ms Truss has previously shown a “pragmatic and open-minded side”.
He added: “I actually don’t think the door for reset is closed.
“Prime ministers, when they take office, naturally take on their own vision of where the job lands.
“I don’t think you can predict what any prime minister will do. I’m not sure that as she gets into the job of prime minister that she will be as unpredictable as Boris Johnson was, because literally you wouldn’t know what would happen week to week.
“I suspect she will set a pattern. And I’d be hopeful that, overall, that pattern will be good, because what’s the Tories are doing at the moment is not winning them electoral success, despite the fact that it appeals to a certain base.
“But it doesn’t appeal to the broad mass of the British public. I think that they will look at this and say, ‘right, where do we have to change tack?’
“I think they need to look at Northern Ireland. They need to look at how the protocol is benefiting Northern Ireland, need to look at how the instability in Northern Ireland which is caused by British government prevarication and how that affects not just Northern Ireland, which it does, but it also affects the image of the British government.
“I think British governments and political parties have done well politically by championing peace because most people like peace, and people will vote for that.
“I think we can ever look at this and I hope that she will.”
Last week, Ms Truss told a Belfast hustings that she would not accept any compromises on a renegotiated Northern Ireland Protocol as prime minister if it meant key UK demands were not met.
“I will not accept anything that does not deliver on the key issues I talked about,” she added.
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