CONSERVATIVE ministers are concerned the new US congress will side with Ireland in any Brexit dispute over the Good Friday Agreement.

According to reports, Cabinet sources point to the Democratic takeover of the House Committee on Ways and Means, responsible for supervising any post-Brexit US-UK free trade agreement.

They fear that, should the UK Government renege on the agreement which shaped the peace process, the US Irish lobby could make life difficult for London in trade talks.

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Last week, a member of the Ways and Means committee, representative Brendan Boyle, tabled a resolution in the House of Representatives demanding the open border in Ireland is protected through the Brexit process.

He said: “We are very sensitive about anything that could possibly threaten the Good Friday Agreement, so specifically that the backstop was removed – the thing that was guaranteeing that there would be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Brexiteers want the backstop – the insurance policy May negotiated with the EU to prevent a hard border in Ireland if a future trade deal cannot be reached – to be axed, fearing it will keep the UK aligned to EU rules and unable to strike trade deals around the world.

Commenting, SNP MSP Tom Arthur said: “This intervention by senior US politicians is yet another blow for the hard-Brexiteers’ fantasy of transatlantic milk-and-honey trade deals. There is widespread international support for the Good Friday Agreement, which is why the EU insisted on the backstop. Theresa May’s attempts to wriggle out of the backstop underline exactly why it was necessary – and this shambolic approach will shatter the UK Government’s credibility in international negotiations.”

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Alyn Smith, the SNP MEP, said: “The noises we are hearing from the Tories that if we walk away without a deal, the EU doesn’t get £39 billion – that is the UK walking away from its liabilities. If they trash the backstop in the north of Ireland that is the UK trashing an international treaty. Nobody will take them seriously when it comes to seeking trade deals across the world. By their actions they have shown they are not trustworthy.”

Smith said there were wider challenges in terms of what the impact on Scotland could be of a UK-US trade deal. He added some of the problems emerged in the talks over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which broke down between the US an EU.

“We were worried about undermining standards of food products, sub-standard electrical goods, opening up the NHS to privatisation. I don’t think these are areas we should compromise on,” he said.