WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, departed the United Kingdom after a trip to Belfast and London. Murphy met with civil society, business, and political leaders to discuss the Northern Ireland Protocol, the continued implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and shared national security challenges.
“I traveled to Belfast and London to discuss the ongoing U.K.-EU trade negotiations and the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are invested in seeing these negotiations succeed, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to represent our perspective abroad,” said Murphy. “After my conversations with civil society and political leaders from across the political spectrum, it’s clear that a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol is much better than the political and economic instability that would result from collapsed talks and a U.K.-EU trade war.”
Murphy continued, “The U.S. has a vested interest in protecting the Good Friday Agreement it helped forge, and I made clear both in Belfast and London that I will not support a bilateral free trade agreement between the United States and Britain without confidence that Britain’s departure from the EU will not adversely affect the Good Friday Agreement. I’ll continue monitoring these negotiations as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and on behalf of the large Irish-American community in Connecticut who are also deeply invested in Irish peace.”
In Belfast, Murphy met with met with civil society, business, and political leaders in Northern Ireland from the Democratic Unionist Party, Ulster Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party, and Sinn Féin, including First Minister Paul Givan, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, UUP Leader Doug Beattie, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood, Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party Stephen Farry, and the Northern Ireland Brexit Business Council. He heard a range of views about the Northern Ireland Protocol, although all were in agreement about the need to reach a deal through negotiations.
In London, Murphy met with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Brexit Minister Lord David Frost, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis, the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor for Foreign Policy John Bew, and National Security Advisory Sir Stephen Lovegrove.
Murphy and U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on Saturday sent a letter to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson in support of protecting the Good Friday Agreement and preserving peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland amid ongoing negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union over the Northern Ireland Protocol.