Brexit: Liz Truss can ‘finish Brexit’ says Marc Roche
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Mr Wilson, Director at the Centre for Brexit Policy, said: “Our Foreign Secretary has modelled herself on Mrs Thatcher. “From her tough-talking to tank driving, her pride in her country and promotion of it as trade secretary, she has won the admiration of the Conservative Party faithful and is now one of the highest regarded cabinet ministers.
“These negotiations will be a test as to whether she is an Iron Lady or a tinfoil cut out.”
Mr Wilson said Ms Truss’ hands “rest the responsibility of getting Brexit done” as she hosts the European Commission vice-president at her Chevening country retreat in Kent.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, he said: “In the face of an EU team which still has as its remit the task of punishing the UK for daring to leave the EU and using NI as a warning to other countries that a severe price will be exacted against them if they have the temerity to dare break free, the Foreign Secretary will have to use all her considerable negotiating skills and demonstrate her determination.
“There is much at stake.
“In her hands rest the responsibility of getting Brexit done and undoing the massive damage done to the integrity of the UK by the NI Protocol.”
He added: “It doesn’t matter whether Liz Truss swings her handbag, fires a salvo from her tank or uses her considerable negotiating charms; the important thing is that she does not leave these negotiations without undoing the damage which the NI Protocol has done to the UK and to the political stability in NI.”
Ms Truss has already invited comparisons with Mrs Thatcher by posing similar to photos that were taken of the first female Prime Minister.
The 46-year-old posed on top of a tank in seeming homage to a notable shot of Ms Thatcher.
The picture of Ms Truss was taken during a visit to Estonia, amid growing tensions in Ukraine over building Russian forces on the border.
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There, she warned Russian strongman Vladimir Putin it would be a “strategic mistake” to invade.
The image echoed a 1986 snap of Ms Thatcher on a tank during a trip to West Germany.
His remarks came after Ms Truss warned Brussels it has a “clear responsibility” to solve the problems caused by Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit deal.
The Foreign Secretary, who assumed responsibility for the negotiations following Lord Frost’s resignation, said the EU must show a “pragmatic approach” to the issues created by the Northern Ireland Protocol, which effectively creates a trade barrier in the Irish Sea for goods crossing from Great Britain in order to prevent a hard border with Ireland.
Ms Truss said: “There is a deal to be done that protects peace in Northern Ireland, defends our Union, and maintains the integrity of the United Kingdom and EU.
“But it will require a pragmatic approach from the EU.
“I will be putting forward practical, reasonable solutions starting from these fundamental principles, with a view to agreeing a plan for intensive negotiations.
“The EU has a clear responsibility to help fix the myriad problems caused by the protocol and protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
“As fellow believers in liberty and democracy, we should be capable of reaching an agreement that delivers for Northern Ireland and allows us to unleash the full potential of our relationship”.
Mr Sefcovic insisted the EU is committed to “stability” and “predictability” in Northern Ireland and said the talks offer the opportunity to build on progress made last month on the issue of medicines.
While at Chevening, he is being treated to a dinner of Scottish smoked salmon, Welsh lamb and apple pie made with fruit from Kent.
He tweeted: “In Dec, we delivered on medicines. Now we have an opportunity to do so on other issues, building on the EU’s far-reaching proposals.
“My objective: stability, predictability in NI.”
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