EU’s veiled threat as it warns UK must maintain ‘political goodwill’ for Northern Ireland deal

Northern Ireland will hold elections for the Stormont Assembly on May 5. Officials on both sides have fears the ballot could become a de facto referendum on the protocol if a deal is not reached in February or March. 

Mr Truss has warned that the treaty has lost the consent of unionists, who fear it is driving a wedge between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which argues it has a chilling effect on trade with Britain. 

She was asked if protocol talks could be paused before campaigning in Northern Ireland begins in earnest. 

“I want to get this done. So I’m not putting any barriers on that. We’re putting as many resources as we can into making this work and making things happen for the people of Northern Ireland,” she said.

A UK source added: “Both sides believe a deal can be done. There’s genuine optimism and Liz has brought refreshing momentum and positivity to the talks.”

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