Brexiteer minister Steve Baker apologized to Brussels today, saying his behavior and that of some of his colleagues was wrong in negotiations with the EU. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the former chairman of the European Research Group said he had not behaved ‘in a way which encouraged Ireland, the European Union and others to trust us” during the talks.

He added that he said “sorry” when meeting Irish leaders after the Queen’s death and thought the “ice was melting a bit” as a result.

He told Conservative Party members: “As perhaps one of the people who acted most decisively to get the UK out of the EU, I think we have to show humility in this situation.

“And it is with humility that I want to accept and acknowledge that I and others have not always behaved in a way that has encouraged Ireland, the European Union and others to trust us to accept that they have legitimate interests.

“Legitimate interests that we are prepared to respect because they do and we are prepared to respect them.

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“And I’m sorry about that because relations with Ireland are not where they should be and we all have to work extremely hard to improve them.”

Britain and Brussels are currently stuck on implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol, signed as part of the 2019 Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Unionists argue that the EU’s purist implementation of the deal has undermined the province’s place within the UK.

They say bureaucratic customs checks have led to trade friction.

Attempts to find a solution to the problems caused by the protocol have so far failed, with a lack of trust between the two sides being largely responsible for the standoff.

However, there is believed to be a renewed desire to find a lasting solution before the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement next spring.

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Mr Baker added that while the UK wanted to show “humility” to help give new momentum to the talks, ministers would remain committed to ending the problems caused by the protocol.

He continued, “No one should underestimate our determination, the determination of this government, to move the protocol forward.

“It is not acceptable that Northern Ireland is so separated from Britain at this time under protocol.

“A protocol at the moment that is only partially implemented.

“So we are determined to get change.

“This change is set out in the Bill which we have introduced and which is pending in Parliament in the House of Lords.”

When Liz Truss was Foreign Secretary, she introduced legislation that would give the UK the power to unilaterally cancel certain aspects of the protocol.

She said the bill was a precaution in case a negotiated solution could not be found with the EU.

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