Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, has warned the UK that if Brexit causes “any harm” to the Good Friday Agreement then it can forget about signing any free trade deal with America.
Speaking at the London School of Economics on Monday evening, the powerful Democrat said the peace in Northern Ireland must not be “bargained away”.
“If there were to be any weakening of the Good Friday accords then there would be no chance whatsoever, a non starter, for a US-UK trade agreement,” she said.
John Bolton, the Donald Trump’s national security adviser, recently said the UK would be “at the top of the queue” for a post-Brexit trade deal.
But Pelosi, who will also travel to Ireland this week, warned it was not just up to the White House.
She said: “First of all let me say it’s very hard to pass a trade bill in the Congress of the United States, there is no given anyway.”
She added the Good Friday Agreement was more than a treaty as it was a “model to the world” and “something we all take pride in”.
“It was hard. But it was a model. And other people have used it as model. And we don’t want that model to be something that can be bargained away in some other agreement,” she said.
In a sign of how Brexit has dominates all foreign policy discussion amid the deadlock in the Commons, Pelosi said it now overshadowed other transatlantic talks.
“Usually when we come here we are talking about national security, we are talking about intelligence, we are talking about the economy, we are talking about so many things. And this time it’s Brexit, Brexit, Brexit, Brexit,” she said.
Asked what aspects of the British political system she would take back to the US, Pelosi added: “It wouldn’t be the Monarchy, we fought a war over that.”
On her trip to London, Pelosi met senior British politicians including Chancellor Philip Hammond and the de-facto deputy prime minister David Lidington. She spoke with May on the phone.
Pelosi also held talks with pro-Brexit Tory MPs opposed to the prime minister’s policy and delivered the same message.
She earlier held “candid discussions” with Jeremy Corbyn about anti-Semitism, Islamohpobia, Brexit, Northern Ireland and Nato.
Her meeting with the Labour leader came after she met with former Labour MPs who defected to form The Independent Group.