PUBLISHED: 10:05, Fri, Sep 18, 2020 | UPDATED: 10:23, Fri, Sep 18, 2020
Boris Johnson has faced a backlash by proceeding with controversial plans that would override the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement signed with the European Union last year, possibly breaking international law in the process. The Internal Market Bill would breach the Northern Ireland protocol of the divorce agreement that seeks to avoid a hard customs border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU-member the Republic of Ireland. The Prime Minister has been forced to table an amendment to the Internal Market Bill, giving MPs a vote before the Government can use powers related to Northern Ireland which would breach the treaty with Brussels.
But that tactic has been rejected by the EU, with European Commission chief spokesman Eric Mamer warning its position has not changed and still wants the offending clauses to be withdrawn from the legislation.
Now the UK Government has warned it will ask Parliament to support provisions in three clauses in the Internal Market Bill if they think the EU is "engaged in a material breach of its duties of good faith or other obligations, and thereby undermining the fundamental purpose of the Northern Ireland Protocol".
In a statement published on the Government's website, Downing Street said such examples would relate to issues surrounding tariffs on goods entering the EU single market and "paperwork requirements" for goods going from Northern Ireland to the UK which would "compromise the principle of unfettered access in Article 6 of the Protocol".
Other examples would include an insistence from the EU that its state aid provisions "should apply in GB in circumstances when there is no link or only a trivial one to commercial operations taking place in NI", as well as a refusal to grant third country listing to UK agricultural goods for "manifestly unreasonable or poorly justified reasons".
Brexit news: Has the EU been negotiating in good faith or should Boris rip up Withdrawal Agreement? (Image: GETTY)
The Government listing reads: "HMG will ask Parliament to support the use of the provisions in Clauses 42, 43 and 45 of the UKIM Bill, and any similar subsequent provisions, only in the case of, in our view, the EU being engaged in a material breach of its duties of good faith or other obligations, and thereby undermining the fundamental purpose of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
"Examples of such behaviour would include: "a. insistence that GB-NI tariffs and related provision such as import VAT should be charged in ways that are not related to the real risk of goods entering the EU single market;
"b. such insistence under (a.) leading to a failure to reach agreement in the Joint Committee, with the result that the default provisions on tariffs between GB and NI apply;
"c. insistence on paperwork requirements (export declarations) for NI goods going to GB, thereby compromising the principle of “unfettered access” in Article 6 of the Protocol;