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Pelosi unready to support UK trade deal as Brexit progresses

The European Union’s decision to accept “Brexit,” the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, has not left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ready to support a potential trade deal between the United States and U.K.

“I don’t think we’ll know for a while,” she said in response to a question from The Hill about a potential deal.

Pelosi said last year that she would oppose a U.K. trade deal if Brexit harmed the Good Friday Accords, an agreement that led to power-sharing in Northern Ireland, and which was ratified in elections in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The agreement was reached after decades of violence involving paramilitary groups and the U.K. government known as “the Troubles.”

 
“I hope and pray that it’s OK and we don’t have to engage in this, but I don’t think we can make a judgement on the strength of the EU saying they have accepted Brexit,” Pelosi said.

“I think that perhaps [U.K.] Prime Minister Boris Johnson knows how important this is, but the proof will be in the pudding,” she added.


Brexit has been seen as a potential threat to Irish peace because of its potential to install a hard barrier between Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, which remains part of the EU.

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The European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday ratified the Brexit agreement, which will go into effect Friday at midnight. The U.K. has 11 months to work out final details of a new trade regime with the EU, which Pelosi said would be key to determining her support.

President Trump, who vocally supported Brexit, has promised to work out a new trade deal with the U.K. following its exit from the EU.

Pelosi’s comments came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting the U.K. on official business. Speaking in London Thursday, Pompeo said it was “fantastic” that Brexit would give the U.K. newfound flexibility.

“The last administration had a policy of putting the U.K. at the back of the line,” he said. “We have a policy of putting the U.K. at the front of the line.”

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