LAST week was not a good week for Boris Johnson. Even before the weekend’s G7 summit began in Cornwall, the news agenda was already dominated by reports that the US government had issued a démarche to the British in advance of President Biden’s arrival. I must admit I had never heard of a démarche. During my years of negotiations with the Irish, British, US and other governments it was not a piece of diplomaticspeak I had ever come across. Apparently it is a formal diplomatic note or memo which expresses the grave concern of one side about the behaviour of the other. It’s not something that one ally normally issues to another. It’s certainly not something that usually finds its way into the media. There is no precedent for the stern message of concern delivered by the US government to the British government about Britain’s Brexit policy and its threat to the Irish Protocol and to the Good Friday Agreement. And it did find its way into the media. Some media reports after the summit reported that US President Joe Biden had a “candid” conversation with Johnson. Jake Sullivan, who is President Biden’s National Security Adviser, said: “All I’m going to say is they did discuss this issue... The president naturally, and with deep sincerity, encouraged the Prime Minister to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the progress made under it. The specific beyond that I’m not going to get into.” The G7 is made up of the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The EU is invited to participate as a guest as are a number of other guest states. This year’s meeting, which was hosted by Boris Johnson, had a wide-ranging agenda which covered everything from the pandemic, including the distribution of vaccines, to the climate change crisis and the upcoming UN summit on climate to be held later this year in Glasgow. The summit was intended by Boris Johnson to be a showcase for Britain as it seeks to reassert its leadership as a global economic power. Instead it turned into a PR debacle with a succession of G7 leaders privately, and some publicly, suggesting that the British government’s policy approach to Brexit and the Irish Protocol is dishonest and untrustworthy. To the annoyance of the British the media spotlight, especially the international media, turned time and time again to the British attitude to Ireland and the Protocol. One after another, state and EU leaders questioned British sincerity and good faith. In a tweet, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the EU Commission, wrote: “The Good Friday Agreement and peace on the island of Ireland are paramount. We negotiated a Protocol that preserves this, signed and ratified by Britain and the EU. We want the best possible relations with the UK. Both sides must implement what was agreed on. There is complete EU unity on this.” Michel Barnier, who negotiated the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol for the EU, put it more succinctly: “I expect him (Johnson) to respect his own signature.” British Ministers tried to shift the focus and to put the blame back onto the EU, accusing it of being belligerent and inflexible.