Liz Truss: What the challenger for Prime Minister has previously said about the Northern Ireland Protocol

Tory leadership contender Liz Truss has made the final stage of the ballot and will now face a campaign to win the votes of Conservative Party members.

he will battle it out with Rishi Sunak, who also made the final cut on Wednesday, with the overall result of the contest announced on September 5.

The Foreign Secretary has been more heavily involved in Northern Ireland affairs in recent months, with the protocol and the row with Brussels over post-Brexit trading arrangements dominating much of her political thinking.

Ms Truss has been primarily responsible for pushing the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill through the House of Commons, with the legislation aimed at overriding parts of the international agreement. 

Ahead of the legislation in January, Ms Truss told the Belfast Telegraph she was determined to “protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland” and had initially invited Maros Sefcovic for renewed talks over the issue.

However, she has since suggested the trading bloc is not being flexible enough over changing the arrangements contained in the protocol.

Pointing to the fact that unionists in Stormont are all opposed to the protocol and the DUP has refused to engage in the Stormont powersharing institutions, Ms Truss said she was determined to “support the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its aspects”.

In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph after the legislation was introduced, Ms Truss revealed she did not regret originally voting for the protocol and said it was a surprise to see problems with the arrangement emerge.

“What we’ve seen from the EU so far are solutions that are worse than the current standstill, that would actually mean more bureaucracy… what we need is a solution to those four issues that are fundamentally undermining the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement,” she told this newspaper.

“We have a very serious situation where the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement is being undermined, we need to put in place a durable solution that fixes that, and that is exactly the point I have made to the US and to all of our other international partners… they [the EU] have to be willing to change the protocol in order to deal with these very real issues that are there.

“I don’t think anybody quite envisaged how the protocol would precisely be implemented. I think we went in with the expectation of greater flexibility on the part of the EU which we haven’t seen.

“But we have to deal with the situation that we have now which is that there is a very serious situation in Northern Ireland; we can’t let that situation drift.”

The Foreign Secretary and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak finished in the top two places after five rounds of voting by Tory MPs, with Penny Mordaunt eliminated from the race after a bitter contest in Westminster.

Mr Sunak, the frontrunner throughout the parliamentary leg of the contest, received 137 votes in the final round of voting.

Ms Truss won 113 votes, narrowly pushing Ms Mordaunt into third place on 105.

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