Truss made ‘turnips in a truck’ Brexit remark about Ireland, former diplomat says

Three years ago, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told an American audience that the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Ireland ‘would only affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks,” said a former British diplomat.

Alexandra Hall Hall, a former Brexit adviser at the UK Embassy in the US, revealed on Twitter on Tuesday evening that Ms Truss made the remarks to an American audience three years ago.

The former career diplomat revealed in an article she wrote in a US academic journal last year that a British government minister made the remarks, but she did not identify the minister at the ‘era.

Last night Ms Hall Hall retweeted a tweet from Ms Truss in which the Foreign Secretary said ‘the UK Government’s first priority is to deliver on the Belfast Accord’ – the 1998 agreement that underpins the peace process in Northern Ireland. Ms Truss shared a link to her speech to the House of Commons in which she outlined plans to introduce legislation to overturn the Brexit deal in Northern Ireland.

Retweeting the post, Ms Hall Hall said: “I am delighted to see Liz Truss becoming a true expert on Irish matters. She was, after all, the minister who told an American audience three years ago that Brexit would not have a serious impact in Ireland. . . it would only affect “a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks”.

“Under pressure”

Ms Truss told the UK Parliament the protocol had put the Belfast deal ‘under strain’ due to opposition from Unionist parties, citing this as a reason to plan to introduce new legislation in the coming weeks to abandon parts of the Brexit deal in Northern Ireland.

Ms Hall Hall wrote in the Texas National Security Review newspaper last year that during her tenure as a diplomat in Washington, DC, Boris Johnson’s government had detrimentally downplayed the impact of Brexit on the peace process in Northern Ireland. Nord in statements to the American public.

She resigned from her post at the end of 2019 because she said she did not want “to peddle half-truths on behalf of a government that I do not trust”, she said in her resignation.

In her article last fall, she described the ‘turnip’ remarks – without naming Ms Truss at the time – as a ‘low point’ of her time in Washington when the UK minister was ‘open and offensive’ to a American public has dismissed the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Irish businesses.

Ms Truss, then Britain’s Secretary of State for International Trade, was visiting Washington at the time to meet then-US Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, both members of the administration of US President Donald Trump, and other politicians.

In the academic paper, she said he had become “increasingly appalled at the way our political leaders have tried to deliver Brexit, with a reluctance to address honestly, even with our own citizens, the challenges and the compromises that Brexit entails”.

She took issue with the article – headlined: ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ The dilemma of a civil service in conflict – with the UK government’s “use of misleading or misleading arguments about the implications of different options” with Brexit.

Ms Hall joined the UK Foreign Office in 1986 and held various posts around the world, including in Bangkok, New Delhi and Bogota before serving as British Ambassador to Georgia.

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