Dublin launches blistering attack on Boris Johnsonby Staff Reporters
THE Irish government launched a blistering attack on Boris Johnson’s government yesterday over its threat to break international law to override elements of the Brexit Withdrawal deal.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said “trust has been damaged and eroded” between the EU and the UK due to the “hugely irresponsible” actions of the British government.
He also accused the UK government of acting in “an extraordinary way and British people need to know that”.
Mr Johnson has claimed the EU is threatening to impose a customs border in the Irish Sea, separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
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Mr Coveney rejected the suggestion that the EU’s position on having a customs border between the north and Britain had hardened after the agreement was signed, calling this a “completely bogus argument”. However, he told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that he believed a post-Brexit trade deal was still possible.
The British prime minister has faced mounting criticism over his plans to change elements of the EU-UK agreement which includes the Northern Ireland Protocol to prevent a hard border.
The Internal Markets Bill is due to be debated in the House of Commons today.
Earlier, in an extraordinary intervention, former prime ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major also entered the debate and united to urge Tory MPs to reject the legislation, saying it ‘imperils the Irish peace process, trade negotiations and the UK’s integrity’.
The DUP’s Westminster chief whip Sammy Wilson lambasted the former prime ministers.
“The suggestion by the hero of the peace process brigade that the bill rips apart the Belfast Agreement is complete and utter bunkum without any factual basis,” he said.
“They need to explain how making it easier for Northern Ireland to do business with our biggest market undermines the Belfast Agreement.
“They need to explain how Northern Ireland companies having less paperwork undermines the Belfast Agreement.
“They need to explain how our amendment which would ensure the UK sets the rules on state aid in Northern Ireland undermines the Belfast Agreement.
“Such a tool is vital to help us fend off predatory behaviour from our nearest competitor.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin meanwhile has said the UK should expect a “firm and strong” response from the EU to the proposed bill.
Mr Martin also insisted there would be “no return of a hard border” on the island of Ireland.