(CNN)Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has warned that Britain will be unable to secure a trade deal with the US if it does anything to undermine the treaty that brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violence.
“If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress,” Pelosi said in a statement on Wednesday.Her comments come in the same week that the UK proposed legislation that would, in the words of a UK cabinet minister, “break international law in a very specific and limited way.”The British government on Wednesday published the Internal Market Bill, which it claims is designed to ensure that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, trade between the four nations of the United Kingdom would remain unfettered.Boris Johnson's government is threatening to breach international law. It could backfire spectacularlyThe legislation, if voted into law by an act of Parliament, would effectively overwrite elements of the Brexit deal that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed with London last year. Specifically, it would undermine a part of the deal known as the Northern Ireland protocol, which exists to eliminate the need for a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in accordance with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.Read MoreThe agreement is of particular interest to US Democrats because of former President Bill Clinton’s role in bringing the various sides of the divide in Northern Ireland together.Pelosi’s statement will come as a major blow to the UK, as several prominent Brexiteers have claimed that the ability to sign international trade deals will be the most obvious upshot of leaving the European Union. As a member state and part of the EU’s single market and customs union, the UK could not negotiate its own trade deals and instead was represented at the World Trade Organization by a delegate from the EU.A trade deal with the US has been repeatedly described as the most important of these, given the size of the US economy, the historic relationship between Britain and the US and the fact that the US is the UK’s largest single trading partner, despite the two having no formal trading agreement.