Boris Johnson says legislative solution needed for NI protocol
Liz Truss has announced that the government will bring legislation to unilaterally ditch the Northern Ireland protocol, despite a plea from the Bank of England to avoid a damaging trade war with Europe.
The foreign secretary has proposed the bill – due to be published in weeks – as a means of upholding the Good Friday Agreement and re-establishing powersharing in the Northern Ireland Executive.
She made the same case in calls held last night with Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, and European Commission vice-president, Maros Sefcovic.
Boris Johnson spent Monday in meetings with the leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main political parties, seeking to make progress on the impasse over the post-Brexit arrangement, with the Democratic Unionist Party refusing to enter a powersharing agreement while the protocol remains in place.
The prime minister said he wanted to “fix” the protocol rather than scrap it.
EU will ‘respond with all measures at its disposal’ if UK overrides Brexit deal
European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, who has been involved in negotiations with foreign secretary Liz Truss about the Northern Ireland Protocol, has criticised her plan and warned Brussels could retaliate.
He said: “Should the UK decide to move ahead with a bill disapplying constitutive elements of the protocol as announced today by the UK government, the EU will need to respond with all measures at its disposal.
“Our overarching objective is to find joint solutions within the framework of the protocol. That is the way to ensure legal certainty and predictability for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.
“With political will and commitment, practical issues arising from the implementation of the protocol in Northern Ireland can be resolved.
“The European Commission stands ready to continue playing its part, as it has from the outset.”
Watch: Labour MP says Britain ‘should be a country that keeps its word’
Here’s a clip of Labour’s Stephen Doughty responding to Liz Truss’s statement.
Mark Francois asks Truss to keep European court out of NI
Conservative MP Mark Francois quoted Lord Trimble, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in devising the Good Friday Agreement, in saying it was urgent to address the issues with the protocol.
He then referred back to comments from Lord Trimble from 1997 when the agreement was being drafted in which he warned against the “adverse effect of the European Courts of Justice (ECJ)” on the peace process. This issue has returned as the court has take up role as final arbiter in disputes over the protocol, he said.
“Can the right honourable lady assure me … she will take action on that issue as well?” he asked Liz Truss.
Ms Truss replied the new legislation would remove the role of the ECJ in Northern Ireland.
NI protocol legislation will protect EU single market, says Truss
The new legislation to change Britain’s approach to the Northern Ireland protocol will include “new measures” to protect the EU single market, including “robust penalties” for those who seek to “abuse the new system”, Liz Truss said.
The foreign secretary told the House of Commons: “The bill will provide the government with the ability to decide on tax and spend policies across the whole of the United Kingdom.
“It will address issues related to governance bringing the protocol in line with international laws.
“At the same time, it will take new measures to protect the EU single market by implementing robust penalties for those who seek to abuse the new system and it will continue to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland.
“I will publish more detail on these solutions in the coming weeks.”
Truss statement response: Britain ‘should be a country that keeps its word’
Labour’s Stephen Doughty said the government was trying to “convince people its deal was not a negotiating triumph but a deal so flawed” they cannot abide by it.
Responding to Liz Truss’s statment on the Northern Ireland protocol, the shadow international development secretary said: “Britain should be a country that keeps its word … there are wide-ranging and damaging repercussions”.
Labour has previously called for the government to negotiate with the EU to fix any issues with the protocol.
Watch: Liz Truss announces plan to change Brexit trade rules
Here’s a clip of the foreign secretary’s statement:
‘This is not about scrapping the protocol’
Liz Truss said the government’s plan to override the Northern Ireland protocol will not “scrap” the agreement Britain made with the EU in 2019.
“We will cement those provisions which are working in the protocol – including the common travel area, the single electricity market and north-south cooperation –whilst fixing those elements that aren’t.
“On the movement of goods, goods regulation, VAT, subsidy control and governance.”
She added: “This is not about scrapping the protocol”.
NI protocol legislation due in ‘coming weeks’
Foreign secretary Liz Truss says UK government’s intention is to introduce legislation in “coming weeks” to unilaterally make changes to Northern Ireland Protocol (Rob Merrick writes).
Ms Truss revealed the legislation will go much further than seeking to ease border checks in the Irish Sea – increasing the chances that it will provoke a damaging trade war with Brussels.
Liz Truss making statement on NI protocol
Liz Truss said the first priority of the government is to protect the Good Friday Agreement and powersharing in Northern Ireland.
The foreign secretary is making a statement in the House of Commons on the government’s plan for legislation to override the Northern Ireland protocol.
She said the Stormont executive has not been working as planned for months now, “this is because the Northern Ireland protocol does not have the support necessary in one part of the community.”
She is referring there to unionists, namely the DUP who refuse to enter into government while the protocol is in place.
Domestic and sexual abuse ‘vital’ issue for government, says Boris Johnson
The government wants to make victims of domestic and sexual violence confident that they are on their side, Boris Johnson told his cabinet this morning.
Mr Johnson said: “What we are also doing is making sure that we give everybody the confidence that we are on their side when it comes to their experience of crimes, and particularly crimes of sexual and domestic violence.
“We want to see more prosecutions for those who engage in such crimes. We want to see more rapists brought to justice.
“I am pleased to to see that, thanks to efforts of several of you across the table who have been working very, very hard, we are starting to see progress.
“This matters deeply to me, it matters to our government. It’s vital to every person, every woman, and every girl in this country that we get this right.”
The government brought the Domestic Abuse act to parliament last year after years of delays. The act creates a statutory definition of domestic abuse, enshrines the role of national domestic abuse commissioner in law and introduces new protections for abuse victims.