A former senior British diplomat in Washington has accused Boris Johnson’s government of devastatingly underestimating the impact of Brexit on the «sensitive peace process» in Northern Ireland in comments directed to the American public.
Alexandra Hall, the main Brexit envoy to the United States who quit her job in late 2019 because she was unwilling to «promote half-truths on behalf of a government I don’t trust», condemned Johnson’s government for being «deliberately disingenuous» in official letters that She was asked to deliver her about Brexit.
In a lengthy article published in an American academic journal, the former professional diplomat criticized the UK government for underestimating the cost and impact of Brexit in «public talking points» intended to provide the British government’s official line in Washington.
«They underestimated the increased friction that business firms were likely to trade between the UK and EU countries as well as third countries such as the US,» Hall wrote in the Texas National Security Review.
“But most damagingly, the talking points also underestimated the consequences of Brexit for the delicate peace process in Northern Ireland, where the United States has been a primary stakeholder, helping to broker and supporting the Good Friday Agreement ever since,” he wrote.
Ms Hall Hall wrote that a colleague at the UK Embassy in Washington working in Northern Ireland was «on the verge of tears» because he «was unable to get his minister to record the massive damage that would be done to the fabric of Northern Ireland, both politically and economically». If the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.»
The bad point for me was when I heard a senior British minister candidly and boldly, in front of an American audience, dismiss the impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on Irish companies as affecting only ‘a few farmers who have a turnip in the back of their trucks’. , I wrote.
The former diplomat said that when she was asked to brief US companies on major investments in the UK, she struggled to maintain the line that there would be no «harmful consequences» for them if the UK left the EU without a deal.
«I found it difficult to ignore the concerns of congressional aides serving members of the Irish American Caucus,» she wrote.
Sometimes I didn’t have answers to questions posed to me by American stakeholders. The internal dissonance became acute: the professional ethos of the British diplomatic corps was that we are upright civil servants, steeped in integrity, and never lie.
«However, that was exactly what I was asked to do.»
Ms Hall Hall, a former British ambassador to Georgia, was the Brexit advisor in the United States from 2018 to December 2019 when she resigned.
She said she resigned because she was asked to pass on messages that were «neither completely honest nor politically neutral» to US representatives and politicians.
In her resignation letter published at the time, she said her position had become «personally intolerable» and «professionally intolerable».
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