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[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks

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Update [VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks

Post by Kitkat on Thu Sep 10 2020, 10:03

Boris Johnson is reportedly drawing up new legislation to circumvent the UK’s Brexit withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks.
Irish Post

According to a report published late on Sunday, the UK government is readying a new section of the internal market bill, which has been designed to deliberately override parts of the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU back in January.

The bill is set to impact some of the legally binding special arrangements in place for Northern Ireland.

Specifically, it will undermine parts of the withdrawal agreement and give greater priority to seamless trade between England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.  

Some of the clauses will also override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed last year, in a move that could pave the way for a return to a hard border.

The Internal Market Bill would also go against the agreement reached on state aid in last year's Northern Ireland Protocol.  

Under the Protocol agreed, the EU retained the right to oppose any UK Government subsidy in Northern Ireland under EU competition rules designed to ensure a level playing field among member states.  

The Internal Market Bill would change that, forcing UK courts to follow the new UK law rather than last year's EU deal.

A UK government source has told the Guardian the bill is part of a wider set of preparations being put in place in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The changes would ensure the free movement of goods within all of the UK, including Northern Ireland.
However, there are  concerns that the movie could lead to the collapse of the Brexit trade talks at what is a crucial juncture.
 
As part of a concerted effort to pressure Brussels into conceding to the UK’s demands on fishing rights and state aid, Mr Johnson is also set to issue an ultimatum declaring a post-Brexit trade deal must be agreed by October 15, otherwise Britain will walk away for good.

Tweet  :Left Quotes:  Simon Coveney:
This would be a very unwise way to proceed. #Brexit .
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks Has6yq10
UK Plan to undermine withdrawal treaty threatens Brexit talks
Internal market bill to override elements of protocol on Northern Ireland

The UK Prime Minister is also set to insist no deal would be a “good outcome” for the country once he sets the deadline.

“If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free-trade agreement between us and we should both accept that and move on,” he will reportedly say.

The reports have been met with dismay with Ireland’s foreigen affairs minister, Simon Coveney, warning that any change would be “very unwise”.

Michelle O’Neill, the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, went further in her condemnation of the potential plans.

“As the Brexit negotiations between the EU and British Government enter their eighth round this week in London, any threats of a roll back on the Irish protocol would represent a treacherous betrayal which would inflict irreversible harm on the all-Ireland economy, and GFA,” she said.

“With clock ticking towards the end of the transition period, time is of the essence to conclude negotiations on future economic partnership & fully implement Irish protocol.  

"Our priority is to avoid any border in Ireland & protect the peace process, GFA & all-Ireland economy."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, meanwhile, warned that the UK Government was in danger of undermining the Good Friday Agreement and causing irreprable damage to the UK’s status in the world with what he viewed as one of the most “reckless” acts concerning Ireland by a British government “in a long long time”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, he hoped the reported plans were “just posturing, because if they try to do this at the same time as trying to convince people in Scotland and Northern Ireland about the future of their Union, well they may as well forget about that as well, because people here will see this as a tremendous act of bad faith”.
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Update US politicians urged to block any UK trade agreement unless Irish border deal stays in place

Post by Kitkat on Thu Sep 10 2020, 10:04

A CAMPAIGN group is lobbying US politicians to block any potential new trade deal with the UK in the event that Boris Johnson reneges on the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement. 

The Border Communities Against Brexit group is also calling on the Taoiseach to call for the cancellation of this week’s planned talks between representatives from the UK and EU until new legislation being proposed by the UK government is taken off the table. 
The UK government is reportedly readying a new section of the internal market bill, designed to override parts of the withdrawal agreement signed back in January.  
If correct, it could impact the legally binding special arrangements in place for Northern Ireland, specifically overriding parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed last year, in a move that could pave the way for a return to a hard border.  
The Border Communities Against Brexit group has branded the idea an international treaty could be deliberately torn up “utterly unacceptable” given the damage it could do. 
“It is utterly unacceptable that an International Treaty could be deliberately torn up, in the full knowledge that the consequences would mean a Hard Border on the Island of Ireland and the havoc that would entail,"” they said. 
"The EU must stand solidly behind its member state, Ireland, and BCAB will also be contacting senior figures in the United States to ensure that there would be no UK / US Trade Deal in these circumstances.”
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks 11889010

Democratic Congressman Brendan Boyle previously warned that any Brexit deal that undermines peace in Ireland would have economic consequences for the UK.

"I think it would be incredibly naive for anyone to think that there would be no impact if there was in any way backsliding from the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"Just as the United States was pivotal in the 1990s, we're prepared again to make sure that we preserve the peace that has been achieved on the island of Ireland," he added.
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Update Leo Varadkar: 'Honourable' UK must fulfil Brexit commitment

Post by Kitkat on Thu Sep 10 2020, 10:05

Tanáiste Leo Varadkar has stressed that the UK must honour it's commitment to Brexit amid rumours they're looking to dismantle some of the provisions of the withdrawal agreement.

The former Taoiseach said that "no domestic law can trump an international treaty," before adding that Ireland expects "any honourable country like the United Kingdom to honour its international commitments".

It comes less than 24 hours after news broke that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was allegedly planning to circumvent the UK’s Brexit withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks.

The UK is reportedly readying a new section of the internal market bill, which has been designed to deliberately override parts of the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU back in January.

The bill is set to impact some of the legally binding special arrangements in place for Northern Ireland.

Specifically, it will undermine parts of the Withdrawal Agreement and give greater priority to seamless trade between England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.  

Varadkar added: "That agreement is in place to make sure that we don't see the emergence of a hard border between North and South, which is something we all want to avoid."

He admitted that the EU and the UK were entering the last few weeks of negotiations and insisted that all parties were "keen to see a trade agreement in place before the end of the year."

"At this point in negotiations you often see a certain level of sabre-rattling and a certain level of posturing, if you like. So, our response to this is going to be measured," Varadkar said.

"We have the Withdrawal Agreement. It is an international treaty and international treaties must be honoured.

"We expect any honourable country like the United Kingdom to honour its international commitments."

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheal Martin insists that there's no danger of a hard border being adopted in Ireland, despite the growing possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

"I trust the British government to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, an obligation under international law and prerequisite for any future partnership," Martin said.

"[The] protocol on Ireland-Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island and integrity of the single market."
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Update Taoiseach Micheál Martin accuses Boris Johnson of betrayal over Irish border plans

Post by Kitkat on Thu Sep 10 2020, 10:07

The Taoiseach has accused UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson of breaking the trust of the Irish Government with his plans for the Irish border.

Speaking in the Dail, Micheál Martin expressed his disappointment at not getting a “heads-up” over his plans for potentially circumventing the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement.

The new legislation is in danger of undermining parts of that agreement by giving greater priority to seamless trade between England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.  

Some of the clauses are also expected override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed last year, in a move that could pave the way for a return to a hard border.

The new legislation could allow ministers to effectively get around the binding agreements the UK has already entered into with Ireland and the EU.

Mr Martin slammed the approach as a clear breach of trust and is set to relay his frustrations to Mr. Johnson in a phone call later today.

He said: “We have to be very clear where we stand in terms of the Withdrawal Agreement."

“I will be registering our complete opposition to the decision that is being taken," he added.

“Proper negotiations are conducted on a ‘no surprise’ basis….. and to drag Northern Ireland back into this is extremely divisive - and dangerous.

“This statement undermines trust.

“There was no ‘heads-up’ on this, so to speak.

“It represents a very new departure in terms of international relations.”

The Taoiseach reiterated his stance in a statement issued to Twitter:

“Any negotiation process can only proceed on the basis of trust.  

“When one party to a negotiation decides that they can change what’s already agreed and incorporated into law, it really undermines trust.  

“This is a critical time in the #Brexit process and the stakes are very high.”

Tweet  Micheál Martin:
:Left Quotes: Any negotiation process can only proceed on the basis of trust. When one party to a negotiation decides that they can change what’s already agreed and incorporated into law, it really undermines trust. This is a critical time in the #Brexit process and the stakes are very high.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald was similarly scathing of the UK government’s approach, warning that Ireland would not serve as a pawn in any Brexit negotiations. 
Ms McDonald told the Irish Mirror : “The Withdrawal Agreement is concluded, the protocol has been agreed that’s a matter of international law and they simply cannot step away and act with such incredible bad faith and set aside or dishonour commitments that they have made in law, these are legal obligations.” 
“I want to sound a very strong note of concern that at this stage, very late in the day in terms of the negotiations that Ireland would be used as a pawn by the British government, that is completely unacceptable,” she added. 
“We have agreed that there could be no damage to the Good Friday Agreement, there can be no hardening of the border of the border on the island of Ireland and that Ireland can’t be the collateral damage for this Tory Brexit.”
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Update Nancy Pelosi warns there is ‘absolutely no chance’ of US trade deal if Good Friday Agreement is damaged

Post by Kitkat on Thu Sep 10 2020, 10:09

NANCY PELOSI has told the UK government there will “absolutely no chance” of striking any trade deal with the US should they choose to override the Brexit withdrawal agreement signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year.

The Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives warned that any potential agreement with the US would have little chance of passing Congress if it is found to “imperial” the Good Friday Agreement.

The US played a key role in brokering the deal that helped establish peace in Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian conflict.

However, under Mr Johnson’s newly-unveiled plans, key elements of the Brexit deal put in place to protect the Northern Ireland Protocol are in danger of being overridden.

In a statement issued on Wednesday Ms Pelosi said: "The Good Friday Agreement is the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and an inspiration for the whole world.

"Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the stability brought by the invisible and frictionless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.

"The UK must respect the Northern Ireland Protocol as signed with the EU to ensure the free flow of goods across the border.

"If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress.

"The Good Friday Agreement is treasured by the American people and will be proudly defended in the United States Congress."

With the Democratic party currently controlling the House, any UK-US trade agreement would require the approval of Ms Pelosi and her majority.
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks Nancy-10

Those sentiments were echoed by senior Democratic congressmen Richard Neal during an appearance on Newsnight.

"There will be no trade agreement on a bilateral basis with the UK, if they re-establish a hard border,” he said.

“This idea you could arbitrarily determine that you could re-establish the border after giving repeated assurances that that would not happen is a violation of the good faith that we all entered into…in this remarkable achievement called the Good Friday Agreement.”

It comes after the UK government announce plans for a new internal market bill.

The bill will allow ministers to override the legally-binding agreement in place with the EU by unilaterally waiving customs documents on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

It also places new restrictions on the EU’s ability to veto the use of state aid subsidies in certain circumstances.

Speaking in the Commons, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis acknowledged that the bill would “break international law in a very specific and limited way”.

In spite of the mounting criticism, Mr Johnson’s government has claimed the legislation is necessary in protecting the Northern Ireland peace process in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
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Update Leo Varadkar: There can be no free trade agreement if UK fails to honour Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Post by Kitkat on Thu Sep 10 2020, 13:21

Leo Varadkar has cast doubt on a free trade agreement between Ireland and the UK.

There have been rumblings over the past few days that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is looking to make changes to certain parts of the Withdrawal Agreement, despite the fact that a deal has already been settled on.

Tanaiste Varadkar insisted that if the UK is willing to disrespect the Withdrawal Agreement, then a free trade deal wouldn't be possible.

"I don't think there can be a free trade agreement in circumstances where the UK government is not honouring the Withdrawal Agreement," said Varadkar speaking to Morning Ireland.

"They already have legislated for the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement - This is a change to that.

"It's an agreement that we made and an agreement that was later ratified by the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the European Parliament.

"This issue would not arise if we had a free trade agreement. I guess that could be what they’re playing at but I don’t think that is a good strategy at all."
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks 003-fi10
Boris Johnson is reportedly planning to make changes to the Withdrawal Agreement

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told MPs that legislation to ensure the North could continue to enjoy unfettered access to markets in the rest of the UK would breach international law in a "very specific and limited way".

Varadkar however insisted that Mr Lewis' comments were "extraordinary" and have sparked a ripple of distrust of the British government around Europe.

"It was an extraordinary statement to hear from a cabinet minister in a respected, liberal democracy," the former Taoiseach said.

"A country either abides by the rule of law or it does not. It either honours international treaties and obligations or it does not.

"Britain is an honest, honourable country full of honest people. It is not a rogue state. These were really extraordinary comments and certainly set off alarm bells in Dublin.

"I think they have backfired.  We have seen the response of the Northern Ireland parties representing the majority of people in the north, which have been very negative.

"We have seen the response from the European Union, we have seen the response from US Congress and Irish America.

"Governments are scratching their heads around the world wondering if they should ever enter into treaties or contracts with the British government if this is their attitude."
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Update 'Trust has been eroded' with UK as Taoiseach admits Ireland is preparing for no-deal Brexit

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 11 2020, 12:20

Taoiseach Micheal Martin says that he is preparing for a no-deal Brexit after admitting that trust between Ireland and the UK had been damaged.

Speaking with RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, Martin said he expressed major concerns with Britain's recent proposal regarding changes to the Withdrawal Agreement to Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a phone call on Wednesday evening.

"Trust has been eroded but [Johnson] made it clear to me that the UK was fully committed to meeting the obligations of protecting the single market and fluidity of trade north and south," Martin said.

When asked how he thought Ireland could trust Mr Johnson's words, the Taoiseach said: "The legislation runs counter to that."

Earlier this week, the news broke that the UK was proposing changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, which puts all existing Brexit negotiations in jeopardy.

The controversial legislation - the UK Internal Market Bill - will give British ministers the power to decide unilaterally how parts of the Northern Ireland protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement should be implemented and disapplies parts of the treaty.

Such a move has been derided by politicians in Ireland, the EU and even the US and has been viewed by some as a breach of international law.

Mr Martin was asked if he believes there will be a no-deal Brexit, and he responded by saying Ireland was "preparing for that prospect".

On Thursday, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar stressed that if the UK was willing to disrespect the already settled upon Withdrawal Agreement, then a free trade deal wouldn't be possible.

"They already have legislated for the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement - This is a change to that," Varadkar said.
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Update EU threatens legal action if British Government refuses to withdraw law-breaking Internal Market Bill

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 11 2020, 17:26

THE EU commission has suggested it would take legal action against the British Government if Boris Johnson's controversial Internal Market Bill is not withdrawn by the end of this month.

Crisis talks between EU Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Chancellor Michael Gove took place yesterday in an extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee.

[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks Screen14

The meeting was called by Mr Šefčovič after the publication of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Internal Market Bill on September 9 - which seeks to undermine elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
Called by the EU Vice-President, the meeting was to allow them "to request the UK government to elaborate on its intentions and to respond to the EU's serious concerns" over the new Bill.
Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis confirmed in Parliament this week that the bill would "break international law in a specific and limited way",
During the meeting, Mr Šefčovič stated that the “timely and full implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland – which Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government agreed to, and which the UK Houses of Parliament ratified, less than a year ago – is a legal obligation”.
He confirmed that the European Union “expects the letter and spirit of this Agreement to be fully respected” adding that “violating the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement would break international law, undermine trust and put at risk the ongoing future relationship negotiations”.
Mr Šefčovič went on to refute Mr Johnson’s claims that the Internal Market Bill was designed to protect the Good Friday Agreement, claiming the EU is of the view that “it does the opposite”.
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks Gettyi23
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor Michael Gove claims the Government will not back down on its controversial new bill

A statement by the EU Commission regarding that meeting claims that Mr Šefčovič “reminded the UK government that the Withdrawal Agreement contains "a number of mechanisms and legal remedies to address violations of the legal obligations contained in the text – which the European Union will not be shy in using”.

The EU Commission has since called on the UK government to withdraw the Bill “in the shortest time possible and in any case by the end of the month”, adding that by putting it forward in the first place “the UK has seriously damaged trust between the EU and the UK”.

"It is now up to the UK government to re-establish that trust," they stated.

However, speaking after the meeting Mr Gove said the UK "could not and would not" retreat on the Internal Market Bill.

Asked if he was willing to swear on his job as Minister for the Cabinet Office that the Government will not back down, Mr Gove replied: "Yes."
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Update Micheal Martin criticised for 'lack of leadership' and being upstaged by Leo Varadkar by furious Fianna Fail TDs

Post by Kitkat on Fri Sep 11 2020, 17:36

A NUMBER of Fianna Fail TDs have voiced their concerns over what they perceive to be Micheal Martin's recent lack of leadership.

[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks Screen15

The Taoiseach was accused of "not listening" to the party or the Irish people and was told he is being upstaged by Tanaiste Leo Varadkar during a private party meeting this week.
"We have lost the people. The party is in a bad place, and Micheal is not listening," said one furious TD.
Several more TDs told Martin that they felt as if Varadkar was outperforming home in public addresses, and urged him to stop conducting joint press conferences with the Fine Gael leader.
It's understood that Marc MacSharry told the Taoiseach: "Leo is wiping the floor with you and running rings around you. Every time you do it, you're losing."
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks 013-no10

MacSharry apparently also told Martin to instruct Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn not to appear on TV every night to provide the public with Covid-19 updates because his is "scaring the bejaysus out of people."

Several sources from within the party are reporting that Martin's leadership skills are being questioned and that faith in him is dwindling by the week.
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Update Re: [VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks

Post by Kitkat on Sun Sep 13 2020, 11:59

Blair and Major urge MPs to reject Internal Market Bill
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks _1143510
John Major and Tony Blair have joined critics opposing the government's proposed Internal Market Bill

Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major have urged Parliament to reject Boris Johnson's "shameful" attempt to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
The PM has said the European Union is threatening to impose a customs border in the Irish Sea, separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
Mr Blair and Sir John have accused the government of "embarrassing" the UK.
The Internal Market Bill will be debated in the Commons on Monday.
The bill would go against the Withdrawal Agreement, signed by the UK and EU earlier this year.
It addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol - the part of the Agreement designed to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.

If the bill becomes law it would give UK ministers powers to modify or "disapply" rules relating to the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland that will come into force from 1 January, if the UK and EU are unable to strike a trade deal.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Sir John and Mr Blair - former Conservative and Labour prime ministers respectively - said the government's actions were "irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice".
"It raises questions that go far beyond the impact on Ireland, the peace process and negotiations for a trade deal - crucial though they are. It questions the very integrity of our nation," they said.
The former leaders, both vehement opponents of Brexit, said that respecting treaty obligations was "just as important" as domestic law, and called for MPs to reject the legislation.
"As the world looks on aghast at the UK - the word of which was once accepted as inviolable - this government's action is shaming itself and embarrassing our nation," they added.
 

Analysis

By Leila Nathoo, political correspondent
Tony Blair and Sir John Major say Boris Johnson knew the full consequences of the Brexit divorce deal he struck with Brussels last year - that new barriers to trade would arise between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
They say the government's plans to now override parts of the deal would imperil the Good Friday Agreement, undermine the UK's credibility in future trade deals and could prompt a damaging retaliation from the EU.
They accuse ministers of embarrassing the UK, by negotiating with what they call "cavalier bombast posing as serious diplomacy" - an approach they say questions the very integrity of the nation.
Their intervention is, however, unlikely to sway Mr Johnson, who's insisted the Internal Market Bill is a necessary safety net to protect the union and peace process - and has defied EU demands to withdraw the contentious clauses before the end of the month.
The prime minister's appealed to MPs to back the legislation - his predecessors say it's Parliament's job to stop his plan going any further.
 
The two former leaders were in office during key periods of the Northern Ireland peace process.
In December 1993, Sir John helped negotiate the Downing Street Declaration in an attempt to secure paramilitary ceasefires in Northern Ireland. Less than a year later, the IRA called its first ceasefire.
It helped pave the way for all-party talks which culminated with the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998 when Tony Blair was in No 10 - a deal that is widely seen as marking the effective end of Northern Ireland's "Troubles".



The EU has warned the UK it could face legal action if it does not ditch controversial elements of the Internal Market Bill by the end of the month.
Boris Johnson urged Conservative MPs to back the bill during a Zoom call on Friday while Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove insisteds the proposals were a means of protecting the "integrity" of the UK.
But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has accused the PM of "reigniting old rows" by working to override his own Withdrawal Agreement.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Keir said his party could back the Internal Market Bill if the government addressed "the substantial cross-party concerns that have been raised".
In order to win Labour's support, he said the bill would need to no longer risk breaching international law and address devolved administrations' concerns of a "power grab".
"We should be getting on with defeating this virus, not banging on about Europe," he added.
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Update Re: [VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks

Post by Kitkat on Sun Sep 13 2020, 16:35

'Firm and strong' EU response expected - Taoiseach Martin

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Martin also cautioned against "playing politics" with negotiations.
The proposed bill would go against the Withdrawal Agreement, signed by the UK and EU earlier this year.
Mr Martin also stated categorically there would be "no return of a hard border" on the island of Ireland.
During the week, Boris Johnson said part of the reason for the Internal Markets Bill was to protect the the Good Friday Agreement and Northern Ireland peace process.
"There's a very firm and strong view emanating from Brussels in how to manage and deal with this," said Mr Martin, speaking to Irish broadcaster RTÉ's Week in Politics programme.
"Whatever ploy or strategic approach is attended for the UK side, will be met with a very measured, firm and strong response from the European Union side," he said.
He described the way the proposed law had been introduced as "no way to do business", and that the EU was giving prior warning of plans to introduce Internal Markets Bill.

His comments followed earlier remarks by Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who said said the UK government was behaving in an "extraordinary way" over Brexit.
Despite this, Mr Coveney said a free trade deal was still a possibility.
Speaking to BBC's Andrew Marr programme, he suggested it would be difficult for trade talks between the two sides to continue if the Internal Markets Bill passes through parliament.
"How then can the EU proceed with these negotiations, and put a new agreement in place, which will be the basis for a new relationship, if existing agreements, which aren't even a year old, are being legislated against?" he said.
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks _1062410
People protesting between Newry and Dundalk about a possible hard border, in March 2019

On Sunday there was further local and international reaction.
Alliance MP Stephen Farry said the UK's admission it could breach international law was "completely outrageous" and that the proposed legislation could be damaging to Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald said the British government was "acting in bad faith and shows clear intent to disregard the protocol in the withdrawal agreement".
The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the EU could not have been "clearer" when the two sides agreed the Brexit withdrawal agreement last year what the implications would be for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Responding to Mr Barnier's comments, the UK's chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, tweeted: "On the Protocol, we indeed negotiated a careful balance in order to preserve peace and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
"It is precisely to ensure this balance can be preserved in all circumstances that the government needs powers in reserve to avoid it being disrupted."
Earlier on Sunday, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major urged Parliament to reject Boris Johnson's attempt to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Sir John and Mr Blair - former Conservative and Labour prime ministers respectively - said the government's actions were "irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice"
The DUP's East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson dismissed their claims as "nonsense", but said his party will table amendments to the Internal Markets Bill.
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Update Buckland says power to override Withdrawal Agreement is 'insurance policy'

Post by Kitkat on Sun Sep 13 2020, 16:43

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has defended plans to potentially override the EU Withdrawal Agreement as an emergency Brexit "insurance policy".
He told the BBC he hoped powers being sought by ministers in the Internal Markets Bill would never be needed, as a solution could be found with the EU.
He said he would resign if the UK ended up breaking international law "in a way I find unacceptable".
But he made clear he did "not believe we will get to that stage".
Labour have indicated they will not support the proposed legislation - which MPs will debate for the first time on Monday - unless major changes are made to it.
Pressure is mounting on those Conservative MPs who are sceptical about the legislation to oppose it in the Commons as well, with former prime ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major calling it "shaming and embarrassing".
The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the EU could not have been "clearer" when the two sides agreed the Brexit withdrawal agreement last year what the implications would be for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
And Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said it was "completely bogus" for the UK to claim that the EU was now interpreting the Withdrawal Agreement in a way which could led to the break-up of the UK.

Boris Johnson says the European Union is threatening to impose a customs border in the Irish Sea, separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
If the Internal Markets Bill becomes law, it will give UK ministers powers to modify or "disapply" rules relating to the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland and subsidies for Northern Irish companies. These rules are due to come into force from 1 January unless the UK and EU are able to strike a trade deal before then.
The proposed new legislation would change the terms of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, a crucial part of the legally-binding Withdrawal Agreement drawn up and agreed by both sides prior to the UK's exit from the EU on 31 January.

'Break the glass in an emergency'

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr, Mr Buckland said the government would only invoke the powers in the Bill if other solutions couldn't be reached and if the EU went on to act in an "unreasonable" way by insisting on excessive checks on goods moving across the Irish Sea.
"I believe with our determination to seek an agreement, we will get a position where we don't need to invoke these provisions. This is all about insurance planning, if you like, a break-the-glass-in-an-emergency provision".
He acknowledged there was a "dichotomy" between the UK's positions in domestic and international law but insisted he believed these would be resolved.
Pressed on whether he would quit if the UK did end up breaking international law, he replied: "If I see the rule of law being broken in a way which I find unacceptable, then of course I will go. We are not at that stage."
He added: "I don't believe we will get to that stage. I know in my mind what we have to do... We have to resolve any conflict and that is what we will do."

Food exports

But Mr Coveney said the UK would be "reneging" on legally-binding commitments if the bill passed and rejected claims the Withdrawal Agreement was a threat to its territorial integrity and the Northern Irish peace process.
A further rift has opened up between the UK and EU over the issue of food exports to the continent from 1 January - when the current post-Brexit transition period ends.
Mr Barnier said it was not true the EU was threatening to effectively block products of animal origin from crossing the channel by withholding the "third country" licence granted to nations outside the bloc.

However, his British counterpart David Frost said the UK had not been given a guarantee that trade would continue as now.
In a series of messages on Twitter , the PM's chief Brexit negotiator suggested under the EU's proposed arrangements, British firms risked not being able to export food from the mainland to Northern Ireland either.

Although the government has a comfortable majority of 80 in the House of Commons, it is facing a rebellion from Tory backbenchers over the Internal Markets Bill, and its passage through the Lords is far from guaranteed.
Labour's Brexit spokeswoman, Rachel Reeves, told the BBC the party could not support the bill "as it stands" because it would be "deliberately and consciously breaking international law".
She told the Andrew Marr programme it would be "counter-productive" to the UK trying to achieve a free trade agreement with the EU and others around the world.
And the Liberal Democrats said adherence to the rule of law appeared to have become "optional" for ministers.
"Robert Buckland swore an oath to respect the rule of law. It is utterly appalling to see him shrug his shoulders like this when the Conservative government is preparing to break it," said their justice spokeswoman, Wera Hobhouse.
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Update Simon Coveney says UK claims that EU would blockade food to Northern Ireland are ‘spin and not the truth’

Post by Kitkat on Mon Sep 14 2020, 11:57

Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has dismissed Boris Johnson’s claims that the EU could use the Irish protocol to blockade food to Northern Ireland as “spin and not the truth”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Coveney accused the British government of behaving in “an extraordinary way” with its proposals for the Internal Markets Bill. 
The bill would see the UK go against the terms of the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement Mr Johnson signed alongside representatives from the EU earlier this year. 
Johnson attempted to defend plans for the bill, arguing that without it the EU could blockade British food destined for Northern Ireland.

Writing in The Telegraph, the British Prime Minister claimed Brussels was threatening to use an “extreme interpretation” of the Northern Ireland Protocol. 
He said this would allow them to impose “a full-scale trade border down the Irish Sea” that could stop the transport of food from Britain to Northern Ireland. 
Coveney vehemently rejected these claims though, branding it a “completely bogus argument”. 
“There is no blockade proposed, and that is the kind of inflammatory language coming from No 10 which is spin and not the truth,” he told Marr. 
“What is agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement and in the Protocol is that there will be limited checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland, because there is an agreement to prevent the need for physical border infrastructure on the island of Ireland. 
“That is the whole basis of the Northern Ireland protocol which the UK designed, along with the EU together to protect peace in Northern Ireland… and that the British government is now looking to renege upon, which is why you sense a frustration in my voice.”

Despite this, Coveney acknowledged that Ireland was not only the UK’s closest neighbour but “arguably, your closest friend”. 
He added that while a free trade deal remains possible, it would be difficult for talks to proceed should the Internal Markets Bill pass through parliament. 
"How then can the EU proceed with these negotiations, and put a new agreement in place, which will be the basis for a new relationship, if existing agreements, which aren't even a year old, are being legislated against?" he asked.
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Update US Congress pens stark warning to Boris Johnson amid "grave concerns" for peace in Ireland

Post by Kitkat on Wed Sep 16 2020, 12:18

Some of the United States' top politicians have penned a letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterating the warning that there will be no trade deal between the two countries if Brexit puts peace in Ireland at risk.

The letter, signed off by Congressmen Eliot L Engel, Richard E Neal, William R Keating and Peter T King, reminded Mr Johnson that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had promised "that the United States Congress will not support any free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom if the United Kingdom fails to preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement and broader peace process".

The top politicians addressed Mr Johnson directly, admitting they had "grave concern" over the UK Government's plans to break international law and override the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit deal they had negotiated and signed into law just last year.

The United States considers the UK to be a 'close ally and friend', with both countries serving "as a pillar of stability in the West", but said they "stand with millions of Americans who support the achievement of the Good Friday Agreement and feel personally invested in ensuring peace in Northern Ireland."

"It is for these reasons we were so disturbed by the reports about your government's efforts to undermine the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement that, if true, could have disastrous consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and the broader process to maintain peace on the island of Ireland," they wrote.
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks Gettyi24
"An Ireland divided by a hard border risks inflaming old tensions that very much still fester today, and undoing decades of progress that the United States, Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom achieved together," UK PM Boris Johnson was warned. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau- WPA Pool/Getty Images)

"An Ireland divided by a hard border risks inflaming old tensions that very much still fester today, and undoing decades of progress that the United States, Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom achieved together."

The Congressmen warned that many people in America-- the public and those in Congress alike-- consider the GFA and a potential UK-US trade deal "inextricably linked", and if the UK Government push ahead with undermining the Northern Ireland protocol, "it would be difficult to see" how a trade deal could be negotiated.

"We therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland and future options for the bilateral relationship between our two countries.

"Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to continuing to work with you to fulfil the promises of the Good Friday Agreement."

The legislation the UK are seeking to introduce could undermine parts of the withdrawal agreement and give greater priority to seamless trade between England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.  

Some of the clauses will also override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed last year, in a move that could pave the way for a return to a hard border.
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Update Re: [VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks

Post by Kitkat on Thu Oct 01 2020, 14:22

[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks Breaki11
EU to take legal action against UK over breach of international laws

THE EUROPEAN Union is to take legal action against the United Kingdom for breaking the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is expected to make an announcement later today which confirms that legal action will be taken, according to RTÉ News.

The announcement comes after the British Government confirmed earlier this month that they intend to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement which was negotiated and signed into law late last year.

The new legislation could undermine parts of the withdrawal agreement and give greater priority to seamless trade between England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Some of the clauses will also override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed last year, in a move that could pave the way for a return to a hard border.

By the Northern Ireland Secretary's own admission, the plans to override the Northern Ireland Protocol breaks international law-- but only "in a specific and limited way".

It is being reported that a "letter of formal notice" has been finalised by the European Commission, which states that the UK is in breach of Articles 4 and 5 of the Withdrawal Agreement, which are known as the "good faith" provisions.

Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission's representative on the EU-UK Joint Committee, warned earlier this week that the EU would "not be shy" to take legal action against the UK for their breaching of international laws.

The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, is today travelling to Brussels for a special meeting of the European Council, in order to discuss a range of issues including the strengthening of the single market, Europe's relationship with China and Europe's relationship with Turkey.

But RTÉ News reports that An Taoiseach will also be given the floor to address fellow European leaders about the impact of Brexit, due to Ireland being the European country most affected by the outcome.
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Update EU starts legal action against UK over deal breach plan

Post by Kitkat on Sat Oct 03 2020, 10:24

EU starts legal action against UK over deal breach plan


EC president Ursula von der Leyen said the bill breached the UK's previous commitments.

The EU has begun legal proceedings against the UK after it refused to ditch plans to override sections of its Brexit divorce deal.
An EU deadline for the government to remove sections of the Internal Market Bill expired on Wednesday.
The "letter of formal notice" could eventually lead to a court case against the UK at the European Court of Justice, the EU's top court.
But the EU has not walked away from talks over a post-Brexit trade deal.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the UK would have until the end of November to respond to the EU's concerns over the draft legislation.
UK-EU trade talks are continuing in Brussels this week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said both sides should "move on" if a deal was not reached by mid-October.

In a brief statement, Mrs von der Leyen said the bill was a "full contradiction" of previous UK commitments over how a hard border on the island of Ireland should be avoided.
She added that the bill was by its "very nature a breach of the obligation of good faith" contained in the withdrawal agreement that took the UK out of the EU in January.
A spokesperson for the UK government said the bill was a necessary "safety net" to protect trade between different parts of the UK.
They added the government would respond the EU's letter "in due course".
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appeared to play down the importance of the Commission's letter, calling the move "more administrative than political".

What powers does the EU have?

Analysis by Nick Beake, BBC Brussels Correspondent
Although the headline is dramatic, this was the EU's next logical step.
When it fired the UK an ultimatum to scrap the most controversial parts of the Internal Market Bill by the end of September, it knew it would likely have to follow up on its threat. And now it has.
But any legal path is long and unpredictable - with no resolution likely to come before the UK's transition period ends on 31 December.
The legal advice given to the EU member states has been that for any alleged breach of the withdrawal agreement committed in 2020, they would have a further four years to pursue the UK.
For any alleged breach committed after the transition period, the EU could use the dispute settlement mechanism (which both sides agreed to in the agreement) to penalise and fine the UK.
Or, it could ask the European Court of Justice to do the same. But this is drawn out legal territory.
It seems the latest legal development will not torpedo the ongoing trade talks - for now.
Both sides insist they do want a deal within the coming weeks, but the EU says it won't sign one off, as long as the UK's bill remains as it is.
The EU and the UK are now trying to walk two tightropes. And it's precarious balancing act.
One route leads to a trade deal, the other to an ugly court battle.
But both sides are looking dead ahead, and neither want to blink first.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for both the UK and EU to work together over trade differences, adding: "A deal can be done here".
"It's absurd that with weeks to go, the focus and the energy is not on their negotiations, it's on threatened court proceedings," he added.
MPs gave their final backing to the Internal Market Bill earlier this week. However, it will have to be approved by the House of Lords before it becomes law.
In a bid to head off a potential rebellion from Tory backbenchers, ministers have granted the Commons a say before powers to override the Brexit divorce deal could be used.
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks _1147110
Boris Johnson reached a deal with Tory MPs to amend the bill earlier this month

The letter sent to the UK is the first stage in the process the Commission uses against countries it believes have broken EU law.
It can end with the Commission taking governments to court at the European Court of Justice.
The ECJ continues to have powers over the UK during the transition period, including over the interpretation and implementation of the withdrawal agreement.
The court has powers to force countries to comply with its rulings, including imposing financial penalties.
However, most cases are settled before then - and it can take many years for a case to move through the court.

What is the Internal Market Bill?

The bill sets out rules for the operation of the UK internal market - trade between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - after the end of the Brexit transition period in January.
It proposes:

  • No new checks on goods moving from Northern Ireland to the rest of Great Britain
  • Giving UK ministers powers to modify or "disapply" rules relating to the movement of goods that will come into force from 1 January if the UK and EU are unable to reach an alternative agreement through a trade deal
  • Powers to override previously agreed obligations on state aid - government support for businesses.

The bill explicitly states that these powers should apply even if they are incompatible with international law.
Ministers say the legislation is needed to prevent "damaging" tariffs on goods travelling from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland if negotiations with the EU on a free trade agreement fail.
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Update Boris Johnson defeated in House of Lords as plan which would undermine Good Friday Agreement voted down

Post by Kitkat on Tue Nov 10 2020, 11:41

Boris Johnson has suffered a major defeat in the House of Lords as he attempted to get his amended Withdrawal Bill passed.

Earlier this year, the UK Prime Minister was the focus of serious criticism-- both in the UK, abroad and even within his own party-- as it was revealed he was planning to override key parts of the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

This 'overriding', which by the Northern Ireland Secretary's own admission broke international law, risked the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement, could potentially see the return of a hard border in Ireland and threatened the peace which has prevailed in the north since the signing of the GFA.

Since Mr Johnson confirmed that this was in fact the government's plan, multiple top politicians in the United States have reiterated time and again that, should the UK's Brexit plans undermine the Good Friday Agreement, there will be no UK-US trade deal.

This warning was echoed by Nancy Pelosi, top Congressmen and women, and Joe Biden, however Donald Trump remaied open to a trade deal.

Yesterday, days after Joe Biden won the 2020 US Presidential Election, the House of Lords voted on the two sets of proposed amendments which would have undermined the Withdrawal Agreement signed by Boris Johson in 2019.

The first vote led to a 433 to 165 defeat; in the second vote, 407 voted against and 148 voted in favour.
[VETOED] Boris Johnson planning to override EU withdrawal agreement on Northern Irish border checks Gettyi44

Following the vote in the House of Lords, Labour politician Angela Smith said: "I am sure some in government will initially react with bravado and try to dismiss tonight's historic votes in the Lords.

"To do so however, would underestimate the genuine and serious concerns across the UK and beyond about ministers pitting themselves above and beyond the rules of law."

The saga is not over, however: in December, MPs will have the chance to put forward the clauses, including the Northern Ireland clause, again-- and MPs are planning to do just that, according to Politico.

The outlet reports that a spokesperson said: "We've been consistently clear that he clauses represent a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the U.K.’s internal market and the huge gains of the peace process."

The European Union had begun legal action against the UK following the British Government's plan to breach international laws.
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Update Joe Biden reaffirms support for Good Friday Agreement in 'warm' phone call with Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 11 2020, 12:02

US President-Elect Joe Biden “reaffirmed his full support for the Good Friday Agreement” in a phone call with the Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

Biden spoke of the need to ensure any Brexit outcome “respects” the Belfast Agreement during his call with Martin, who he previously met during the Irish politician’s tenure as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

A government spokesperson for Martin described the call as a “warm conversation” with Biden recalling his “strong Irish roots” and desire to protect Ireland from the impact of Brexit on the so-called Irish border.

The Taoiseach congratulated President-elect Biden and Kamala Harris on their remarkable election victory and extended a formal invite to visit Ireland once the current coronavirus pandemic has passed.

Biden also indicated he would be signing American back up to the Paris accord on carbon emissions and would reinstate funding to the World Health Organisation.

The Government spokesman said: "An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and President-elect Joe Biden spoke by phone this afternoon.

"In a warm conversation, President-elect Biden recalled his strong Irish roots and his visit to Ireland with his family in 2016.

"The President-elect reaffirmed his full support for the Good Friday Agreement and they discussed the importance of a Brexit outcome that respects the GFA and ensures no return of a border on the island of Ireland.

"They looked forward to working together bilaterally and across a range of international areas including EU-US relations, the UN - including the Security Council, and on the important global challenges of Covid-19, economic recovery and climate change."

Micheal Martin also added in a tweet: "I’ve had a warm and engaging call with US President Elect @joebiden

"He brings tremendous knowledge & understanding to his new role, and has a great love for his Irish heritage. He underlined his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement & we spoke of importance of multilateralism for example, the Paris Accord and the WHO.

"I congratulated him on the historic nature of his election and that of @KamalaHarris and we agreed to work closely together. I also invited him and @DrBiden to come back to Ireland when we will properly mark their success ."

Source

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 07:58