British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reportedly claimed that the only Irish people who had cause for concern over a no-deal Brexit were "a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks", according to a former British diplomat.
Alexandra Hall Hall, a former British ambassador to Georgia and Boris Johnson's former Brexit counselor to Washington, accused Truss of making the remark during a speech at an event held by right-wing American think tank the Heritage Foundation on August 8, 2019.
Hall Hall made the claims after Truss continued to defend the UK Government's plan to override elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol in order to protect the Good Friday Agreement.
"So pleased to see Liz Truss become a genuine expert on Irish matters," Hall Hall said in a tweet on Wednesday.
"She was, after all, the minister who told a US audience three years ago that Brexit would not have any serious impact in Ireland… it would merely ‘affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks."
So pleased to see Liz Truss become a genuine expert on Irish matters: she was, after all, the Minister who told a US audience three years ago that Brexit would not have any serious impact in Ireland…it would merely “affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks”. https://t.co/qOwfPxC9jH— alexandra hall hall 🇺🇦🌻 (@alexhallhall) May 17, 2022
Hall Hall had previously alluded to the remarks in an article for the Texas National Security Review last October but attributed them to an unnamed "senior British minister".
"A low point for me was when I heard a senior British minister openly and offensively, in front of a US audience, dismiss the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Irish businesses as just affecting 'a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks," Hall Hall wrote in the Texas National Security Review last October.
The Irish Independent reports that those close to Liz Truss have dismissed the comments.
Hall Hall resigned as a British diplomat in 2019 due to concerns over the UK Government's handling of Brexit negotiations. Hall Hall, who served as a UK diplomat for 33 years, said she was consistently forced to "peddle half-truths".
She also cited her unhappiness at having to spread "misleading or disingenuous arguments about the implications" of a no-deal Brexit, according to her 2019 resignation letter.
Hall Hall has said publicly that she did not vote in favor of Brexit but said that she promoted the Government's policy as part of her job as a civil servant.
However, she said she became increasingly uneasy about defending what she believed were untenable UK Government policies.