US speaker Nancy Pelosi blasts ‘CONDESCENDING’ ERG MP in Ireland talks

The third most powerful person in the US government had a clash with Mr Francois during a meeting with senior European Research Group (ERG) members on a four-day visit to Ireland and Northern Ireland. She said to the Tory MP: “Don’t condescend to me or to us’”. A source told The Times: “They were really condescending to the group, repeatedly saying the issue had been ”concocted” by Remainers, Brussels, and Leo Varadkar, and essentially that they were unwitting dupes.”

With regards to Mr Francois, the source said: “His face turned from already red to even brighter red.”

During the Ireland trip, Ms Pelosi said Brexit should be regarded as just an unwelcome blip in the road to peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland.

The senior Democrat said Brexit was just an “abberation”.

She has campaigned against the prospect of a hard Irish border during the tour and even said a compromise of the Good Friday Agreement could result in issues with trade between the US and the UK.

Ms Pelosi said: “We have said that we are guarantors for the Good Friday Agreement because we believe it is fair to both sides – that is why they agreed to it.

“We believe that Brexit should be just an aberration in this discussion as we continue to build and strengthen our peace that was generated by the Good Friday accord.”.

The Government has said it does not intend to put a hard border in Ireland but a solution to the issue has yet to be reached.

Ms Pelosi said: “We come here out of respect for the courage of those who participated in the Good Friday accord.”

Dermot O’Hara, a spokesman for Border Communities Against Brexit, greeted her at the frontier.

He said: “She is saying to the British very clearly they must respect the Good Friday Agreement, the Good Friday Agreement underwrote the Irish situation here.

“This is a British border here, we want the border to be in the Irish Sea and we appreciate the visit by the delegation and their support for the rights of the Irish people.”

John Boyle, mayor of Derry City and Strabane Council, said it was evident Ms Pelosi was determined to protect the integrity of the agreement.

He said: “They will support us in ensuring it does not impact on that very important agreement which was signed in 1998.”

He said a hard border would be difficult to deal with psychologically, adding: “Many of us going back generations remember what a hard security border looked like here.”

Joe McHugh, education minister in the Republic and Donegal public representative, said the visit of the third most powerful politician in the US was very important.

He added: “Since Brexit there has been a very loud voice along the border communities and further away from the border communities that we cannot go back to the past, we cannot go back to a border that is going to obstruct the free-flowing movement of goods and people on a day-to-day basis.” has contacted the office of Mark Francois for a comment.