Boris Johnson was in the middle of a sentence and talking about the controversial Northern Ireland protocol when White House staff suddenly ordered reporters to leave the White House on Tuesday.
Johnson encouraged the press to ask questions during his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, but was abruptly cut off when answering Sky News’ Beth Rigby’s last question.
She asked if Biden was not going to prioritize a UK-US trade deal over his concerns over the Northern Ireland protocol, leading the president to admit that ‘he was “very determined” to keep the Irish border open.
Johnson added, “On this point, Joe, you know we’re one. And I don’t think anyone wants to see anything that disrupts or upsets the Belfast Good Friday deal, which is the Belfast Good Friday deal. “
It was the peace treaty that ended the Irish unrest in 1997.
He started another sentence, but a White House aide suddenly started calling reporters to leave.
According to the White House press office, Biden was then asked, “What is your response to the situation at the border, Mr. President?”
Biden’s response was inaudible but according to the press office, he replied: “The violence is not justified.”
However, this couldn’t be heard above the clamor of the outgoing press.
The White House reading of their meeting affirmed that the two leaders “discussed Northern Ireland and that President Biden reiterated his long-standing support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland.”
Northern Ireland has been a major source of tension between Downing Street and the Biden administration since the Democrat began his presidential campaign in 2019.
Particularly proud of his Irish heritage, Biden has repeatedly stated that there will be no deal between the States and Britain after Brexit if the peace of the island of Ireland is threatened in any way. whether it be.
The UK decided to introduce the Northern Ireland Protocol as a way to keep that peace – the country would leave the EU along with the rest of the UK, but would continue to follow the bloc’s trade rules so that trade can continue with the Republic of Ireland.
There have been many complaints about the procedure since it was put in place in January, with many in Northern Ireland complaining of feeling separated from the rest of the UK.
Biden has since confirmed that a UK-US trade deal is unlikely in the coming years, leaving Downing Street to consider closing the US-Canada-Mexico trade deal.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.