Liz Truss was sent to stop a trade war — now No 10 fears she could start one

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When Boris Johnson called Micheál Martin, the Irish prime minister, last week he tried to break the ice with humour. “I haven’t seen you since your men thrashed us at Twickenham,” the PM remarked. The taoiseach, another rugby fan, was generous in return: “It wasn’t really fair, you only had 14 men on the pitch most of the time.”

The way the EU has enforced the rules on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland since the Brexit deal, with checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea, has made some in the government feel it is trying to play the game a man down.

On Tuesday Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, will publish domestic legislation giving the government the right to suspend elements of the