Pelosi’s comments came after the UK said it would legislate to override parts of the divorce deal with the European Union in the event that a trade agreement isn’t reached. The UK government claims that its Internal Market Bill is designed to ensure that trade between the four nations of the United Kingdom would remain unfettered in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
That did not go down well among top Democrats in the US, who fear it could undermine the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian conflict.
The legislation, if voted into law by Parliament, would effectively overwrite elements of the Brexit deal that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed with London last year. Specifically, it would undermine a part of the deal known as the Northern Ireland protocol, which exists to eliminate the need for a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in accordance with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Pelosi’s statement will come as a major blow to the UK, as several prominent Brexiteers have claimed that the ability to sign international trade deals will be the most obvious upshot of leaving the European Union. As a member state and part of the EU’s single market and customs union, the UK could not negotiate its own trade deals and instead was represented at the World Trade Organization by a delegate from the EU.
A trade deal with the US has been repeatedly described as the most important of these, given the size of the US economy, the historic relationship between Britain and the US and the fact that the US is the UK’s largest single trading partner, despite the two having no formal trading agreement.