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Earlier this week it emerged Boris Johnson planned to override certain key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), the document that sets out the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU. The news has prompted an outcry from Brussels, who accuse the UK Government of breaking trust and breaching international law if it goes ahead with the move.
But Mr Johnson has sought to defend his Government’s tough approach and said the changes, outlined in the Internal Markets Bill, are vitally needed.
He wrote on Twitter: “Let’s make the EU take their threats off the table.
“And let’s get this Bill through, back up our negotiators, and protect our country.”
The Prime Minister has also produced a lengthy comment piece in defence of the new Bill, which is due to be debated in the Commons next week.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson claims EU negotiators have seriously misunderstood the terms of the WA that was reached last October.
He said: “We are now hearing that, unless we agree to the EU’s terms, the EU will use an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose a full-scale trade border down the Irish Sea.
“We are being told that the EU will not only impose tariffs on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland but that they might actually stop the transport of food products from GB to NI.”
The Prime Minister warned that if the EU carried out such plans, the Northern Ireland peace treaty would be in jeopardy.
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Mr Johnson said the UK is keen to implement the protocol “to protect the integrity of their Single Market and to keep a fluid North-South border” but does not trust the EU to abide by its word.
He said: “We cannot leave the theoretical power to carve up our country – to divide it – in the hands of an international organisation.
“We have to protect the UK from that disaster, and that is why we have devised a legal safety net – in the UK Internal Market Bill – to clarify the position and to sort out the inconsistencies.”
The Prime Minister said the Bill protects jobs and growth within the UK by preventing barriers to trade between the nations and regions.
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He said the plans would also protect the free flow of goods and services between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Mr Johnson added: “It is therefore crucial for peace, and for the Union itself.
“We must get this Bill through.”
The Internal Markets Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on September 9 and will have its Second Reading on Monday September 14.
The Bill will now be subject to debate and approval through both houses before it is passed into law.
If approved the Bill would enable ministers to override parts of the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement by modifying export declarations and other exit procedures.
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