Liz Truss dismisses EU threat to SUE Britain over law scrapping Northern Ireland Brexit rules saying negotiations had hit a ‘dead end’ as UK highlights 4,000 rules imposed on province since last year
- Liz Truss dismissed EU sue threat on law scrapping Northern Ireland Brexit rules
- The Foreign Secretary said ‘no reason’ for the ‘negative’ reaction from Brussels
- Legislation was published yesterday but could take months to pass Parliament
The Foreign Secretary said there was ‘no reason’ for the ‘negative’ reaction from Brussels to the UK plans for overhauling the protocol.
In a round of interviews this morning, she insisted negotiations with the bloc had reached a ‘dead end’ as it was not willing to agree fundamental changes.
The UK is moving to end to the EU court’s role in resolving disputes over Northern Ireland, as well as targeting 4,000 new Brussels rules that have been imposed since January last year without consent.
But commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said last night that Brussels is urgently considering legal action, which could come as soon as next week.
He even warned that the entire Brexit deal could be put at risk – raising the prospect of a damaging trade dispute involving tariffs and major border controls.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (right) said there was ‘no reason’ for the ‘negative’ reaction from Maros Sefcovic (left) to the UK plans for overhauling the protocol
Loyalist protests in Belfast against the checks on goods crossing the irish Sea
Ms Truss said: ‘Our solution doesn’t make the EU any worse off. We continue to protect the single market.’
‘So there is absolutely no reason why the EU should react in a negative way to what we are doing. I’ve been very clear my preference is for a negotiated solution but in the absence of that we simply cannot allow the situation to drift.’
The PM said yesterday that a trade war would be a ‘gross, gross over-reaction’ to changes which are ‘relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things’.
He stressed: ‘All we’re trying to do is simplify things, to actually remove the barriers to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
‘How perverse, how preposterous… to be introducing further restrictions on trade when all we’re trying to do is have some bureaucratic simplifications.’ He spoke as:
The new Northern Ireland Protocol Bill will give ministers powers to override parts of the original Brexit deal, including scrapping EU checks on goods traded between Britain and the province.
Downing Street acknowledged the legislation would allow ministers to break parts of the Brexit deal relating to Ulster, breaching an international treaty with the EU.
But the Government insisted the plan was permitted by international law because ministers have an overriding duty to protect the Good Friday peace agreement in Ulster.
The statement, a summary of legal advice from Attorney General Suella Braverman, cited the ‘doctrine of necessity’ – a recognised principle in international law which allows states to ‘non-perform’ treaty duties if it is the only way to ‘safeguard an essential interest’.
It said the EU’s implementation of the protocol was causing a ‘diversion of trade and serious societal and economic difficulties’, undermining the peace process.
It added that the ‘genuinely exceptional situation’ in Northern Ireland justified immediate intervention.
The PM said yesterday that a trade war would be a ‘gross, gross over-reaction’ to changes which are ‘relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things’
Both the EU and the White House have warned against taking unilateral action, along with some Tory MPs.
However, the US has said proposed changes to the protocol would not be an impediment to potential America-UK trade talks in Boston later this month.
UK ministers said that, after 18 months of inconclusive talks with Brussels, they had no choice but to act.
Ms Truss said she was ‘very clear that we’re acting in line with the law’ and blamed the EU for the failure to reach a negotiated settlement.
Mr Sefcovic declared that Brussels ‘will not re-negotiate the protocol’.
In a thinly veiled threat, he said the move ‘undermines the trust that is necessary’ for the Brexit trade deal to continue.