The UK government is planning to offer 3.7 million Covid jabs to the Republic, in part to help lift the lockdown in Northern Ireland, which could raise tensions with the European Union.
It would be the first time the UK has exported vaccines to the EU, but the plan was described by a British cabinet minister as a “poke in the eye for Brussels” because it could disrupt EU unity.
Brussels, which has co-ordinated vaccine procurement and delivery on behalf of all member states, has made slower progress than the UK. Amid an acrimonious dispute over supplies, the EU has even threatened to block exports of vaccines and their ingredients.
Dominic Raab, the UK foreign secretary, Michael Gove, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, and