JOE BIDEN has been accused of pandering to Irish-American voters after he warned the British government off any change to The Good Friday Agreement.
The Democratic presidential nominee warned the UK’s ruling Conservative Party government that Good Friday Agreement would not be allowed to become “a casualty of Brexit”.
His warning came after the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the Internal Market Bill, which could allow the UK government to circumvent the terms of the legally-binding Brexit Withdrawal Agreement signed earlier this year.
Biden’s warning came in response to the release of a bipartisan letter signed by US Representatives Eliot Engel, Richie Neal, William R. Keating, and Peter T. King telling Mr Johnson the Good Friday Agreement, must be protected throughout Brexit.
The letter warned that failure to do so would make any US-UK trade deal after Brexit unlikely.
Biden’s comments were met with scorn by Conservative politicians though, with one accusing the US Presidential hopeful of trying to appeal to the “Irish Republican vote”.
Conservative MP Joy Morrissey, who actually was born and raised in the US, was among those to hit out at Biden, telling her followers "clearly it's all about the Irish American vote.”
Clearly it's all about the Irish American vote pic.twitter.com/JfhFxfZ9NZ
— Joy Morrissey MP (@joymorrissey) September 17, 2020
MP Alexander Stafford was similarly scathing in his assessment of the claims.
“Is this the same @JoeBiden who once described Britain’s position in Northern Ireland as “absolutely outrageous”. And who ' hit the headlines in the 1980s for his stand against the deportation of IRA suspects from the US to Britain' according to the Belfast Telegraph ,” he asked.
Former UK Brexit Secretary and MP David Davis was similarly dismissive in The Times: “Perhaps Mr Biden should talk to the EU since the only threat of an invisible border in Ireland would be if they insisted on levying tariffs.”
Former Conservative party leader and Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith as similarly scathing.
“We don’t need lectures on the Northern Ireland peace deal from Mr Biden,” he told The Times.
He added: “If I were him I would worry more about the need for a peace deal in the USA to stop the killing and rioting before lecturing other sovereign nations.”
We don’t need lectures on the Northern Ireland peace deal from presidential candidate @JoeBiden. If I were him I would worry more about the need for a peace deal in the USA to tackle the killing and rioting before lecturing other sovereign nations...https://t.co/n22YQ3blwh
— Iain Duncan Smith MP (@MPIainDS) September 17, 2020
Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken also gave the remarks short-shrift.
“Joe Biden`s comments are regrettably predictable.The peace process is not just the property of one section of our community. Placing a border in the Irish Sea is just as fundamentally against the principles of peace as other concerns."
Is this the same @JoeBiden who once described Britain’s position in Northern Ireland as “absolutely outrageous”. And who ' hit the headlines in the 1980s for his stand against the deportation of IRA suspects from the US to Britain' according to the Belfast Telegraph @BelTel https://t.co/SBDb5ZMKNJ
— Alexander Stafford MP (@Alex_Stafford) September 16, 2020
Former UK Minisrer for Trade and of State for Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2012, MP Conor Burns also tweeted: “Hey Joe Biden, would you like to discuss the Good Friday agreement? It is also called the Belfast Agreement so it doesn’t offend both traditions.
“Did you actually know that? I was born in NI and I’m a Catholic and a Unionist. Here if you need help.”
Hey @joebiden would you like to discuss the Good Friday agreement? It is also called the Belfast Agreement so it doesn't offend both traditions. Did you actually know that? I was born in NI and I'm a Catholic and a Unionist. Here if you need help.
— Conor Burns (@ConorBurnsUK) September 16, 2020
Biden has yet to respond to the comments.