5 January 2022
Obviously, the UK Government has to be the arbiter of the Good Friday Agreement and so we had to be really careful that the arrangement we put in place to ensure that we had a stable UK Government wasn’t damaging to the prospects of getting the devolved assembly back up and running, and to the wider peace process in Northern Ireland. [...] So, it wouldn’t have made it easy, but it would have at least got rid of the idea that, ‘We’re going to be trapped in this world forever.’ UKICE: Isn’t the logic of your position that the best deal the UK could get would be a permanent version of the backstop, because the only way out is to make concessions to the EU? I’m quite intrigued as to how you then sell anything else as better for the UK t. [...] So, it was respecting a lot of the work they had done before, but trying to change the culture a bit and the mood of the place. [...] The 1922 meeting on the Monday night was one of the most impressive performances I saw from her in the whole period that I was working for her, because at that meeting I think her job was on the line when she walked into that room. [...] The final bit of commentary for me: I think, despite the fact that occasionally the discussions between them can get a bit techy, I think the Chancellor did solidify in her mind the importance of not introducing friction at the border in the trade of goods – not just at the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, but at the wider UK-EU border.