New UK Brexit plans pose serious threat to avoiding a hard border in Ireland
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has criticised the move, saying it “would be a very unwise way to proceed”.
The UK is planning new legislation that will override crucial parts of the agreement to withdraw from the EU last year, it has been revealed.
A report in the Financial Times suggests certain sections of the Internal Market Bill, due to be published this Wednesday, will “eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement”, according to three people familiar with the plans.
Crucially, the bill will have a significant impact on Northern Ireland and threatens to undermine the avoidance of a hard border that was such a key part of the initial withdrawal agreement published last October and ratified by the UK government and the Council of the European Union in January of this year.
One person familiar with the plans, reports the Financial Times, says the bill would “clearly and consciously” undermine the agreement to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to say today that if an agreement has not been reached by the time of the European Council on 15 October, then both sides should be prepared to move on.
Johnson is expected to claim that such a development would represent a “good outcome” for the UK and that a trade agreement with the EU similar to that of Australia would allow the UK to “prosper mightily” as a result.
Citing the Financial Times article in a post on Twitter on Sunday night, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said it “would be a very unwise way to proceed”.
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) September 6, 2020
News of the UK plans comes after the Chief Brexit Negotiator David Frost told The Mail on Sunday that the UK was not “scared” of walking away from talks with the EU without a trade deal.
EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, meanwhile, confessed to feeling "worried and disappointed" about a lack of concessions made by Frost in talks in London last week.