Defiant Liz Truss vows to stand by controversial Ulster legislation despite EU legal threats as negotiations with the bloc ‘hit a brick wall’
- EU retaliated to Boris Johnson’s plans to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol
- The protocol is to avoid a border on the island and was negotiated with Brexit
- Last night Liz Truss vowed to unpick parts of the Brexit deal despite controversy
- Downing Street was ‘disappointed’ in the EU’s decision to launch new action
Brussels yesterday warned Britain that it risked provoking a trade war – or the collapse of the entire agreement – unless it backed down.
At a press conference in Brussels, European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic also unveiled a raft of documents with proposals on how to break the impasse.
But British ministers last night accused the EU of recycling old ideas and warned they would have to bring in the legislation to override the protocol as negotiations had ‘hit a brick wall’.
A Government source said: ‘The EU proposals are the same as they were six months ago. The proposals they’ve put on the table do nothing to solve the core issues, and in some areas take us backwards.’
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss vowed to unpick parts of the Brexit deal despite legal threats from the EU
The source added: ‘Our proposals are legal, the Government legal advice is clear on that.’
As part of Brexit negotiations, the UK and EU agreed to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is designed to avoid the need for a border on the island.
European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said the UK had set out to ‘unilaterally break international law’
But this has led to disruption on goods crossing the Irish Sea, with new checks imposed on those moving to the province.
Concerns also have been raised that the country’s place within the UK is being undermined, with the Democratic Unionist Party blocking the formation of a power-sharing executive at Stormont until the issue is resolved.
The Government intends to use domestic law to unilaterally override aspects of the post-Brexit arrangements to reduce the checks required.
But the EU’s legal proceedings that began in Brussels yesterday – relating to the implementation of the protocol but not the proposed new legislation – could lead to multi-million-pound fines being imposed on the UK.
Downing Street said it was ‘disappointed’ in the EU’s decision to launch the fresh action.
Mr Sefcovic said yesterday the UK had set out to ‘unilaterally break international law’. The dispute could lead to a trade war with tariffs or even the suspension of the entire Brexit deal.
Asked about potential further action, Mr Sefcovic said: ‘If this draft Bill becomes the law then I cannot exclude anything.’