Brexit news: Brussels alarm bells as Attorney General BACKS Boris plan to rip up EU rules | Politics | News

Brexit: Suella Braverman on the ‘alternative solution’ to backstop

, who is the Government’s senior legal officer, backed changes to the current deal, which has effectively resulted in a controversial border running down the Irish Sea, much to the consternation of , leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The Tory MP for Fareham said: “Boris stood up to the last year and we got a good deal.

“I am really confident we are not going to let the EU push Northern Ireland around.”

She told The Sunday Telegraph: “We will do whatever it takes to ensure that we get a good settlement for Northern Ireland and a good settlement for the Union.

Speaking last week, Mr Johnson said he was ready to invoke Article 16 of the Protocol unless Brussels agreed to changes.

Boris Johnson Ursula von der Leyen

Boris Johnson has been tipped to win changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol (Image: GETTY)

Ms Braverman added: “The Prime Minister has made it really clear that we’re going to do everything that we can, whether that’s legislatively or indeed if it comes to it invoking Article 16 to ensure that there’s no barrier in the Irish Sea.

“It is about getting an equivalent interpretation of the rules and we can’t have one party taking disproportionately excessive interpretation or application of rules and one party being forced to accept that.”

A report published by the Centre for Brexit Policy today has urged both sides to enforce each other’s rules at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

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4.30am update: Yorkshire escaping Brexit disruption seen elsewhere, port CEO claims

Simon Bird, chief executive of Yorkshire-based port operator ABP Humber, has said Yorkshire is not experiencing the same level of Brexit disruption seen elsewhere.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Mr Bird there had been some “teething issues” but added there had been “no lorry queues or congestion”.

He continued: “Talking to the lines those teething problems are beginning to be resolved.”

UK port

Yorkshire is not experiencing the same level of Brexit disruption as elsewhere, a port CEO has said (Image: Arterra / Universal Images Group / Getty)

2.30am update: Company claims lorry driver had to wait ’24 hours’ at customs

A UK-based removal company has hit out after claiming one of its lorry drivers was held for 24 hours at customs.

Claire Walton, who runs Walton International, told Echo News: “We had a lorry held up for 24 hours while paperwork was sorted out and the customer was charged 900 Euros in duty on their personal items – second hand goods.”

She added the company is facing delays particularly in Spain. David Burch, director of policy at the Essex Chambers of Commerce, said businesses should contact them for help if necessary.

12.30am update: Government rejects claims Brexit exports have plummeted

The Government has rejected reports that exports to the EU have fallen significantly since December 31.

Over the weekend, the Road Haulage Association wrote to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to state that there had been a drop of up to 68 percent in exports passing through the UK so far this year, The Observer reported.

However, The Guardian has now cited a Cabinet Office spokesperson as saying they “don’t recognise these figures at all,” though they did say there were “some specific issues”.

Another spokesperson claimed that “freight movements are now close to normal levels”.

Edward Browne takes over reporting from Simon Osborne

12am update: Sorry, Angela! EU’s Nord Stream 2 project faces disaster as Biden urged to punish Putin

Joe Biden has been urged to intervene in a bid to halt work on Nord Stream 2, the controversial pipeline project which will bring gas from Russia to Germany.

However, former MEP  said the US President can expect little help from either Germany’s Chancellor, , or Vice Chancellor,  – suggesting the latter was hellbent on sticking to what he called “Putin’s slimy deal”.

Nord Stream consists of two offshore natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

Additional reporting by Simon Osborne

9.22pm update: EU ‘acting like absentee landlord’ over Brexit in Northern Ireland

EU chiefs are too busy trying to convince member states the single market is being protected instead of trying to resolve issues surrounding the Brexit deal’s Northern Ireland Protocol, acording to a former Government adviser.

Katy Hayward, a professor of sociology at Queen’s University in Belfast and a former adviser to the Brexit department said Brussels had insisted Northern Ireland’s post-conflict peace process was put at the centre of trade negotiations.

But she said EU officials had since taken a “one-dimensional” approach which did not serve the region well when it came to ensuring the new system was running smoothly.

Prof Hayward said: “The protocol is not an easy thing to start up with a click of the fingers.

“But there has been this sense of an absentee landlord with all these rules coming into play and with no means of direct engagement to help manage the consequences of it.

“The main concern of the European commission has been to demonstrate and prove to other member states that the single market is being protected.

“Such a one-dimensional approach had been a misfit for Northern Ireland.”

Larne

Brexit has sparked major issues at the Northern Irish port of Larne (Image: PA)

7.31pm update: Two held over graffiti attack amid rising Northern Ireland tensions

Two men have been arrested in the Northern Irish port of Larne on suspicion of painting graffiti condemning Irish Sea border checks.

Slogans were painted at various locations in the town on Saturday, one stating “Larne says no to Irish Sea Border”.

Police detained two men in the Church Road area of Larne on suspicion of offences, including criminal damage and possessing of an article with intent to damage property.

They both remained in custody tonight.

5.58pm update: Elton John urges Government to renegotiate Brexit rules for perfomers

Sir Elton John has joined the growing number of musicians to hit out at the Government over its Brexit deal which has left touring artists facing red tape and new costs under EU visa rules.

Sir Elton said the UK’s Brexit negotiators “screwed up” a deal for British musicians and the broader music industry and is now calling on the Government to re-enter negotiations.

Writing in the Guardian, he said: “Either the Brexit negotiators didn’t care about musicians, or didn’t think about them, or weren’t sufficiently prepared.

“They screwed up. It’s ultimately down to the British government to sort it out: they need to go back and renegotiate.

“The situation we’re currently in is ridiculous. Music is one of Britain’s greatest cultural exports.

“It’s a £5.8bn industry that got left out of the Brexit trade negotiations when others weren’t.”

Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John said the Government had ‘screwed up’ (Image: PA)

4.26pm update: Lord Adonis urges Labour to push for return to single market

Rejoiner Lord Adonis has called on Sir Keir Starmer to push for Britain’s return the the EU customs union and single market.

The former Labour minister was reponding to reports the Labour leader would try to reset his faltering leadership with a pledge to make his party “unashamedly pro-business”.

He tweeted: “The ‘unashamedly pro business’ policy Labour should adopt is to rejoin the Customs Union & as much of the Single Market as possible.”

3.10pm update: SDLP urges Foster to ‘dial down rhetoric’

The leader of Northern Ireland’s SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has warned powersharing in Northern Ireland could be under threat if political unionism continues to agitate for the “unrealistic” scrapping of the Norther Ireland Protocol.

Colum Eastwoodurged Arlene Foster’s DUP to end talk of political boycotts and dial down the rhetoric, and instead join with other Stormont parties to find a workable solution.

He said: “Unionism needs to learn the lesson that they should have learned a number of times over the past 100 years – the British Government will let you down and if you keep going to the right you’re going to end up in a worse position when you come back to the table.

“So come and work with us, let’s get together, the spirit of powersharing is what’s important right now, working in partnership to deal with the problems.

“But continuing to run to the microphone, have petitions and talk about protests and all that – none of that works, it’s not based in reality.

“We know the DUP campaigned for Brexit, it was a strategic error at the time.

“We can now work together to resolve some of the difficulty, but let’s all calm down, work together, put the rhetoric at the door because it’s not going to help and it will have a political impact.

“We’re seeing stability being rocked this week in a number of different ways and I think as political leaders we all have a responsibility, first and foremost, to be honest with our people and tell them what the scenario is, what the context is, why we have trading barriers and also come together to work through it, because the alternative is just not worth contemplating.”

2.10pm update: 

Ireland is open to “modest” extensions of waivers on the movement of certain goods from Britain into Northern Ireland after the UK Government asked the European Union to tweak post-Brexit rules, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

Coveney was speaking ahead of talks on the issue next week in London between British Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, both of whom Coveney said he was in regular contact with.

“I would be open to advocating for modest extensions of grace periods,” Coveney told Ireland’s RTE Radio, but he said there was no question of scrapping the Northern Ireland Protocol of Britain’s EU divorce deal.

Neverthless, Mr Coveney insisted the protocol was generally working, highlighting that the volume of goods arriving into Northern Ireland ports was similar to this time last year.

And he also rejected any suggestion that it could be scrapped after demands by DUP leader Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland’s First Minister.

1.38pm update:

Boris Johnson has no intention of triggering Article 16 and suspending the Northern Ireland Protocol, regardless of what Attorney General Suella Braverman said, a Brexiteer has warned.

Ms Braverman today backed Mr Johnson’s suggestion he would be prepared to use the mechanism as a means to ditch the controversial rules, which effectively impose a border down the Irish Sea, much to the anger of Northern Ireland’s First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster among others.

However, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib remains highly sceptical.

He told Express.co.uk: ““Any suggestion that the government will stand up for Northern Ireland in the union of the United Kingdom is false.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster

DUP leader Arlene Foster (Image: GETTY)

1.10pm update: Gove set for more talks with Sefcovic

Michael Gove is poised for more talks with European Commissioner Maros Sefcovic aimed at resolving tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Sefcovic is due to visit London this week.

12.18pm update: 

Ireland has lashed out at the EU’s fisheries policy after a European supertrawler began plundering their waters.

The Margiris, the second-largest fishing vessel in the world, has been detected less than eight nautical miles from Ireland’s territorial sea limit, according to tracking data.

The Lithuanian flagged boat is owned by Dutch company Parlevliet and was banned from Australian waters in 2013 following protests from environmental and fishing groups amid fears it would cause huge destruction to marine life.

Hermann Kelly, president of the Irish Freedom Party, warned the presence of the vessel off the coast of Kerry is a key example of how, under the Common Fisheries Policy, EU boats are “hoovering up a massive amount of fish which is wealth out of Irish territorial waters”.

11.30am: Just accept it, Sinn Fein President tells Brexiteers

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald said Brexiteers had to accept that new trading borders between Great Britain and the island of Ireland were a permanent consequence of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Mrs McDonald said the focus now needed to be on resolving initial problems with new Irish Sea trading arrangements, not ditching the Northern Ireland Protocol that now governs the movement of goods.

“Brexit is for keeps, I mean this is a big game changer for all of us and it has to be managed in a way that is sensible, in a way that is fair,” she told Sky News.

“None of us wanted trading barriers between our island and the island to Britain, or across the continent, but Brexit has happened and in some respects those that advocated it so strongly now need to very much accept the fact that these are the consequences of their decisions.

“For us on the island of Ireland, there is the immediate need to have the protocol work to protect Irish jobs and livelihoods, to secure the infrastructure of our peace process.”

Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald, the President of Sinn Fein (Image: GETTY)

10.38am update: 

Boris Johnson has been warned Joe Biden will be a “hostile ally” and will not be enticed by the UK’s membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

This week the UK announced its formal process to join the trade alliance, with some commentators claiming it may well be a ploy to tempt Mr Biden into a trade deal.

However, one US commentator has shot down Mr Johnson’s ploy, claiming the new President will be a “hostile ally” towards London. Speaking to Express.co.uk, US commentator Jadan Horyn claimed the alliance would be a great opportunity to expand trade worldwide.

However, in a blow to the Prime Minister’s post-Brexit hopes, he warned the trade group may not help Mr Johnson in his hopes for an agreement.

10.06am update:

Brussels may not be able to recover from the aftermath of its failed threat to stop vaccines entering the UK, an MP has claimed.

After the outrageous threat to redivert vaccine supplies away from the UK, Ursula von der Leyen was forced to retract the use of Article 16 of the free trade agreement.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Tory MP for Dudley North, Marco Longhi, revealed the effect on the bloc’s reputation has been colossal.

Not only did the MP issue a stark warning over the EU’s future but said the bloc’s true colours and its attitude towards the UK have now become clear.

UK has ‘lost all confidence in Von Der Leyen’ says Kuenssberg

9.29am update: 

The European Union was warned Sweden would “miss the UK’s political clout” by a senior economist who predicted Stockholm could follow Britain out of the bloc.

Brussels has been embroiled in days of political infighting as its botched handling of the coronavirus vaccine rollout sparked anger across its member states.

The European Commission, headed by President Ursula von der Leyen, put a temporary measure in place to restrict the exports of vaccines produced in the bloc amid an ongoing row with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

It claimed it is concerned about how some manufacturers within the bloc had been handling orders, while AstraZeneca told the bloc it would not be able to supply as many vaccines as expected to the EU, at the present time.

9.18am update: 

The Republic of Ireland was left “horrified” after the EU imposed Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol amid a coronavirus vaccine supply row.

At the end of January, a row over coronavirus vaccine supplies prompted the EU to use the “nuclear” option of invoking Article 16.

This is part of the Northern Ireland Protocol which governs the island’s trading arrangements with the EU and Great Britain.

Emeritus Professor Adrian Guelke has condemned the bloc for trying to implement Article 16 without thinking of the repercussions on either side of the Irish border.

He told Express.co.uk: “On the issue of what happened on [that] Friday night, with the Commission attempted to aggregate Article 16 or to use Article 16 on the website, that caught the Republic by surprise.”

9am update:

Emmanuel Macron has been accused of turning Brexit fishing negotiations “toxic” as he tries to cling onto his Presidency in France.

Trade of British greenery, such as plants and trees, can benefit from Brexit if the Government commits to slashing red tape, an industry expert has said.

It comes as plant nurseries have complained of issues with trade as European law now prohibits the UK from selling plants to either Northern Ireland or the continent if they have any traces of soil on them.

A trade body has warned this is restricting exports, and has called for regulation to be reviewed.

In 2019, the value of the UK’s ornamental horticulture trade, which includes cut flowers, was put at £76 million.

8.30am update: 

Boris Johnson has been urged to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit agreement, ensuring no trade barriers remain between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK – as a Brexiteer petition calling for the bombshell move breaks 100,000 signatures.

Amid rising tensions between Dublin, Belfast, Westminster and Brussels, Northern Ireland’s pro-Union and pro-Brexit DUP party set up an e-petition calling on the British Government to trigger the mechanism to override the Northern Ireland protocol.

Now the petition – which was set up by party leader Arlene Foster as part of a five-point plan it published in a bid to scrap the protocol – has received 130,462 signatures.

Having now broken 100,000 signatures, Parliament will be forced to consider the move for debate in the House of Commons.

8.23am update: Exports to the EU fell by more than two-thirds last month

A survey of international hauliers has found the volume of exports travelling from British ports to the EU fell 68 percent last month compared to the same period last year.

The research by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) prompted it to write to Cabinet minister Michael Gove to call for assistance, particularly with increasing the number of customs agents from 10,000 to 50,0000 to help firms with extra post-Brexit paperwork.

Chief executive Richard Burnett told The Observer the RHA had also found 65-75 percent of vehicles arriving from the EU were returning to the bloc empty due to a lack of goods, hold-ups in the UK and because British companies had halted exports to the continent.

Mr Burnett said he found it “deeply frustrating and annoying that ministers have chosen not to listen to the industry and experts”, who have consistently called for greater consultation by Government.

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, France’s President (Image: GETTY)

8.14am update: 

UK ministers are to hold crisis talks with their Scottish counterparts in a bid to resolve Brexit export issues surrounding Scotland’s fishing and seafood sectors.

Scotland minister David Duguid will lead a new taskforce which will aim to “work collaboratively across UK and Scottish governments”.

The introduction of new checks and paperwork since the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 has caused significant disruption to exports of fresh fish and seafood to the EU.

Organisations including the Scottish Seafood Association and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation have expressed frustration at the lack of Government action.

8.08am update: 

Brexit would see the UK “dominate” on trade if it were to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Swiss Prime Minister Guy Parmelin claimed as Switzerland endures its own bitter standoff with the EU.

International Trade minister Liz Truss announced last week that Britain will apply to join a large trading bloc of countries from around the world.

The UK will pitch to become part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which could allow Britain to trade freely with 11 countries including Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.

The talks regarding UK entry will start later this year, Ms Truss said, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson claiming that the country is “forging new partnerships that will bring enormous economic benefits for the people of Britain”.

7.59am update:

France wanted to take advantage of Brexit to replace Britain as the leading European power in NATO.

Britain could be poised to join an alliance known as “Asian NATO” in order to restrain China’s ambitions.

Reports in Indian media have floated the idea of Britain joining the so-called “Quad”, which currently consists of the United States, Japan, India and Australia.

With Britain lining up what Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has called an “Indo-Pacific tilt” after its departure from the EU, membership in the “Quad” would enlarge an alliance of countries who have all clashed with an assertive Beijing in recent months.

Attorney General Suella Braverman

Attorney General Suella Braverman (Image: GETTY)

7.44am update: 

Emmaniel Macron has been praised to the skies by Armin Laschet, Angela Merkel’s heir apparent, in a clear indication of where his sympathies will lie if he succeeds her as Germany’s Chancellor.

Mr Laschet, who beat Friedrich Merz in the race to become leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) last month, is widely regarded as closely aligned with Germany’s current leader, to the extent that he is sometimes referred to as “mini-Merkel”.

And speaking yesterday, he made it clear that, if he gets the nod when the 64-year-old steps down later this year, he will maintain her famously close links with France and Mr Macron and the quest for “more Europe”.

The Prime Minister of the North Rhine Westphalia region said: “Strategic foresight and passion are indispensable in foreign policy.

7.33am update: Boris “won’t let EU push UK around”

Boris Johnson will not let Britain be “pushed around” by the EU and has every right to pull the plug on the Northern Ireland protocol, Attorney General Suella Braverman has warned.

Ms Braverman, who is the Government’s senior legal officer, backed changes to the current deal, which has effectively resulted in a controversial border running down the Irish Sea, much to the consternation of Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

The Tory MP for Fareham said: “Boris stood up to the EU last year and we got a good deal.

“I am really confident we are not going to let the EU push Northern Ireland around.”

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