The UK Attorney General has received legal advice saying it would be legal for the UK to suspend parts of the post-Brexit Northern Ireland treaty.
Suella Braverman, the government’s chief law officer, said the legal situation had changed because the UK-EU deal was sparking social unrest.
This means there could now be new legislation removing controls on goods moving into Northern Ireland from the UK, the said BBCin the latest chapter of Britain’s protracted and contentious exit from the European Union.
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?
Agreed as part of the Brexit deal signed by Boris Johnson in December 2020, the Northern Ireland Protocol aims to protect the Good Friday Agreement by avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.
The protocol, which came into force in January 2021, works by keeping Northern Ireland within the EU’s single market for goods. As a result, Northern Ireland continues to follow some EU laws and there are new controls and paperwork on goods imported into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
Some goods, including chilled meat and plants, have been technically banned under the deal because such products cannot be imported into the EU from outside the bloc.
What’s wrong with it?
The protocol “threatening to derail Stormont’s new power-sharing government,” it said The guard“after the Democratic Union Party refused to appoint new ministers until Irish Sea border controls on goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain were abolished”.
After threats from unionists to boycott power-sharing in the province until the deal was reformed, Johnson said the protocol was “unsustainable in its current form”.
Politics aside, the DUP argues that it is hurting Northern Ireland’s economy and causing major disruption to businesses.
What does Britain propose?
It was originally thought that a bill to solve the problem “should give ministers the power in principle to suspend the treaty,” but in practice it was not, he said The guard. However, the currently proposed bill “would go further than expected and discard parts of the protocol,” the paper added.
Officials at Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have drafted legislation that would unilaterally eliminate all controls on goods consigned from the UK for use in Northern Ireland.
It would also allow businesses in the province to flout EU rules and regulations and strip the European Court of Justice (ECJ) of the power to rule on issues related to Northern Ireland.
Ministers argue that a unilateral move would be compatible with Article 16 of the protocol, they said The times“which allows both sides to suspend parts of the agreement if that is the case
resulting in serious “economic, social or environmental difficulties”.
What does the EU want?
The EU admits that there are problems with the protocol. The bloc has proposed a more limited set of exceptions and changes than those requested by the UK.
It proposes amending EU law to allow UK-made medicines to continue to be shipped to Northern Ireland, and to tackle the export ban on sausages to Northern Ireland by allowing products that play a role in the “national identity” of local communities .
But the EU insists the ECJ must “ultimately oversee” the Northern Ireland Protocol and says there should be no blanket exemptions from controls in the Irish Sea.
Meanwhile, the EU wants Britain to stop threatening to pull out of the deal. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “No one should unilaterally give up, break or in any way change the agreement that we have reached”. Independently reported. And Alexander De Croo, the Belgian Prime Minister, warned: “Don’t touch that, we agreed on that.”
What will happen next?
UK ministers have said they want to give talks with the EU “one last chance” to agree a compromise, but there are fears the tensions could lead to a trade war between Britain and the EU.
That could mean British exports could be hit by Brussels-imposed tariffs that could even end the post-Brexit free trade deal.
This was announced by the Ministry of Finance financial times that a trade war could exacerbate the cost of living crisis, especially if action were taken during the conflict in Ukraine.
“If you have a trade war, it will affect the economy, especially if there is actually a war in Europe,” an unnamed official said.