Post-Brexit trade talks to continue in Brussels next week

Saturday, 12 Sep, 2020

The meeting was chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and the European Commission Vice President, Maroš Šefčovič, alongside the co-chairs of the Committee, the Paymaster General, Penny Mordaunt, and Michel Barnier.

The EU has warned that would prevent any chance of agreeing on a trade deal.

Lord Howard of Lympne, the former Conservative Party leader, told Sky News he would be "very surprised" if the proposed UK Internal Market Bill was passed by peers.

"If the bill were to be adopted, it would constitute an extremely serious violation of the Withdrawal Agreement and of worldwide law", Sefcovic said.

The EU has given Mr Johnson until the end of the month to withdraw his proposals to override elements of the Withdrawal Agreement, with the bloc threatening legal action if he does not comply.

European Union diplomats and officials said the bloc could use the Withdrawal Agreement to take legal action against Britain, though there would be no resolution before the end-of-year deadline for Britain's full exit.

The Government has faced intense criticism after it published its Internal Markets Bill earlier in the week - legislative proposals that Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted would break global law. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted earlier in the week that it would break worldwide law. But it argues that it is acting legally under British law because according to the "fundamental principle of Parliamentary sovereignty ... treaty obligations only become binding to the extent that they are enshrined in domestic legislation".

Britain's decision to break global law by overwriting part of the EU Withdrawal Agreement has alarmed European leaders and threatens to scuttle the fragile negotiations on future UK-EU relations now being held in the British capital.

"My job is to uphold the integrity of the United Kingdom, but also to protect the Northern Irish peace process and the Good Friday Agreement", he said in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said the UK would strive to reach a deal

He added: "I am not one who wants to create any barriers, and I am not looking for barriers to be created between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic either, for that matter".

Adrian Paul, an economist with Goldman Sachs, on Thursday said the Internal Markets Bill had "significant implications for the integrity of the EU's Single Market, the integrity of the United Kingdom, the degree of trust between the UK and the European Union, and the likelihood of a UK-US trade deal". It said the bill would be debated on Monday.

"The withdrawal agreement affirms in black and white the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as set out in the Good Friday Agreement".

Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: "Whatever form it takes, Brexit can not 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. My view on the trade discussions is the following: You have to do it up to the last moment, but you have to be very clear", Scholz said. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in Washington. Johnson has said Britain will walk away if there is no agreement by October 15. "How do you trust that?"

"What we are saying is, this is is not about if we implement them, this is about how we implement them", he said.

"What were they thinking?"

Critics say reneging on a legally binding global commitment will trash Britain's reputation for upholding law and order.

Meanwhile, disquiet among civil servants was reflected in a barbed memo from the departing head of the Government's Legal Department, Sir Jonathan Jones, who is working out his notice after quitting last week in protest at the bill.