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‘Not going to happen, we have LEFT’ Bone rages at EU amid threat of collapsed Brexit talks

3 min read

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The staunch Tory Brexiteer unleashed a furious response to the latest Brexit talks developments arguing the European Union’s threat of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland does not have a leg to stand on, regardless of Boris Johnson’s latest attempt to revisit the withdrawal agreement. He told Sky News: “What I want to say is a comprehensive free trade agreement so that makes it irrelevant, doesn’t it?”

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He added: “Nobody can tell me who is going to construct that border (between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland). It’s just not going to happen.

“So all that talk is irrelevant. And I’m absolutely behind the British Government that wants to make sure that our internal market floats freely.

“And supports Northern Ireland. That’s what the British Government should do.

“And I have to say to the EU, they haven’t negotiated in good faith.

“We’ve left the EU, we’re an independent country.”

Talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU are hanging in the balance after Brussels demanded the UK abandon plans to override key elements of the withdrawal agreement.

At a stormy meeting in London on Thursday, the Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove insisted the Government “could not and would not” drop measures in legislation tabled earlier this week.

It prompted European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic to accuse the UK of an “extremely serious violation” of international law, putting the ongoing trade talks in jeopardy.

Despite the tensions, Britain’s negotiator Lord Frost said there had been “useful exchanges” and talks would resume next week in Brussels, although he warned that there were still “a number of challenging areas”.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson is facing growing unrest among Tory MPs deeply unhappy at the threat to undermine Britain’s traditional support for the international rule of law.

The former chancellor Lord Lamont said the Government was in a “terrible mess” and warned the UK Internal Market Bill would not get through the Lords in its present form.

In the Commons, senior Conservatives are tabling an amendment to the Bill which they said would limit the powers it gave to ministers in relation to the Withdrawal Agreement.

The row erupted as the latest round of trade talks – also taking place in London – ended on Thursday with both sides acknowledging that “significant differences” remain.

Mr Johnson has set a deadline of October 15 for an agreement to be reached, otherwise he has said he will simply walk away from the negotiating table.

However Mr Sefcovic said the UK side needed now to rebuild trust which had been “seriously damaged” by the events of the past days.

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He said the provisions in the Bill relating to the Withdrawal Agreement had to be dropped by the end of September and that the EU would “not be shy” about taking legal action if the Government refused.

Under the terms of the Bill, ministers would take powers to vary a protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to the customs arrangements in Northern Ireland after the current Brexit transition period ends on December 31.

The protocol, agreed after much difficult negotiation, was intended to prevent the need for the return of a “hard” border with the Republic while ensuring the integrity of the EU single market.

The Government has said the measures in the Bill are simply a “legal safety net” to enable it to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Ireland peace process.

This drew a dismissive response from the EU which said that “it does the opposite”.

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