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UK will act on N Ireland rules if EU doesn’t: Boris Johnson

London, May 16

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday renewed British threats to break a Brexit agreement with the European Union, blaming it for a political crisis that’s blocking the formation of a new government in Northern Ireland.

Johnson said there would be “a necessity to act” if the EU doesn’t agree to overhaul post-Brexit trade rules that he says are destabilising Northern Ireland’s delicate political balance. Johnson was holding private talks with the leaders of Northern Ireland’s main political parties, urging them to get back to work. But his public message was aimed at the EU, which he accused of refusing to give ground over post-Brexit border checks. “I hope the EU’s position changes. If it does not, there will be a necessity to act,” Johnson said.

EU member Ireland warned that a unilateral move by Britain could imperil the whole post-Brexit trade agreement between thee two sides.

Voters in Northern Ireland elected a new Assembly this month, in a vote that saw Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein win the most seats. It was the first time a party that seeks union with the Republic of Ireland has won an election in the bastion of Protestant unionist power. — AP

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