Brexit news: Liz Truss’s stance on NI protocol a ‘major test’ for US relations | Politics | News

Polls are showing Liz Truss as the clear favourite to win the Tory leadership contest, with the latest YouGov poll of party members having 66 percent backing Ms Truss to 34 percent supporting Rishi Sunak.

But the Foreign Secretary, who compares herself to Margaret Thatcher, will have to face Joe Biden’s administration from the position of the PM in critical diplomacy conversations.

And in those, she is already perceived as a “loyalist” to her predecessor Boris Johnson, according to a US diplomat familiar with the Britain file.

The diplomat who spoke to Politico said Ms Truss is “likely to continue the policies and tone of Johnson’s government”, which is expected to bring a positive outcome in a first step of building relationships.

The diplomat continued suggesting that the tone of the conversations is “unlikely to change” regardless of who takes over in Downing Street, since the UK and the US will remain strategically aligned against the geopolitical challenges posed by Russia and China.

But at a second stage, the two governments will have to negotiate over Brexit and the relationship with the EU, and this will be a “major test”, according to the diplomat.

The diplomat predicted that “the issue of how a Truss government approaches the [NI] protocol will be the first major test of relations.”

On Wednesday, Truss said she was determined to deliver the Northern Ireland Protocol bill in full, even if it faced time-consuming opposition in parliament.

Politico suggested that the protocol dispute “pits Truss’ domestic base against her country’s greatest ally” since Truss’ intentions to rewrite the protocol are clear.

READ MORE: Next PM to be ‘forced into U-turn’ as Truss’ tax cuts plan a ‘joke’

Truss replied: “I took on responsibility for negotiating the Northern Ireland Protocol, and against a lot of the advice in Whitehall and against of the wishes of some of the people you’ve mentioned.

“And I will be very clear with people like Nancy Pelosi exactly what I think about this and exactly what we need to do. I have got on with delivering this.”

She added that the Bill is “absolutely legal”.

Mujtaba Rahman, Eurasia Group’s managing director for Europe, also told Politico that unless Truss mends fences with the EU, the U.S.-U.K. friendship “is not going to flourish”.

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