LONDON (CU)_Just last week, the Attorney General for England and Wales, Suella Braverman, gave her approval for a draft legislation that would unilaterally scrap key parts of the Northern Ireland protocol. According to the British government’s chief law officer, signs of violence, like the hoax bomb attack targeting Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney a couple of months ago, justified plans to override the deal in order to keep the peace. Nevertheless, officials have denied claims that the government is seeking to “rip up” the Northern Ireland protocol, as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is due to make a major statement to MPs on Tuesday (17 May) outlining a law to override parts of the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.
According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman, in her statement, Truss would set out the government’s rationale for using domestic legislation to make major changes to the agreement signed with the EU. However, the Minister has not yet published any draft legislation, reaffirming claims that she only wants to retain the option of unilateral action as a negotiating tool. “We want a weapon on the table, we don’t want to use it. It’s like the nuclear deterrent,” one insider told the Sunday Times.
PM Johnson is currently holding emergency talks with political leaders in Northern Ireland with the aim of breaking the deadlock caused by the post-Brexit trading arrangements. So far, the UK has rejected several compromises put forward by the EU to cut paperwork and checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain. Instead, Downing Street is looking to make changed through domestic legislation, which could take up to a year to get through Parliament. Meanwhile, Brussels has warned that any unilateral action taken by the UK would represent a clear breach of international law and could therefore result in a trade war with the former EU member.