UK seeks new legal advisers on Brexit sparking claims it willNovember 3, 2021
UK seeks new legal advisers on Brexit sparking claims it will seek to throw out rules on trade with Northern Ireland – as Lord Frost prepares to meet French counterpart in Paris tomorrow
- Ministers want fresh help for Attorney General Suella Braverman over Brexit
- Tasked with providing a legal basis for abandoning Northern Ireland Protocol
- Lord Frost meets French Europe Minister Clement Beaune tomorrow in Paris
- Ireland’s PM warned Britain of far-reaching implications of ‘reckless’ step
Ministers are seeking to appoint new legal advisers to help it throw out post-Brexit trade rules covering Northern Ireland.
The Government is said to be seeking fresh faces who could help Attorney General Suella Braverman provide a legal basis for abandoning the Northern Ireland Protocol.
It will fuel claims that the Government wants to use Article 16 of the protocol, which allows either side to suspend the agreement if it is deemed to be having a significant impact on everyday life.
It comes as the Brexit Minister Lord Frost prepares to meet French Europe Minister Clement Beaune tomorrow.
A Government spokesman told the Financial Times it was ‘normal practice to commission legal advice from a wide range of sources on matters of this significance’.
Meanwhile Ireland’s prime minister today warned Britain of far-reaching implications for its relations with the European Union if it takes the ‘reckless’ step of seeking to suspend parts of the Northern Irish protocol in its Brexit divorce deal.
Micheal Martin, speaking after meetings with EU and US leaders at the COP26 Summit, described British actions in recent weeks as sabre-rattling and described current British/EU relations as ‘very challenging and very serious.’
Difficulties in sending some goods to British-run Northern Ireland have prompted London to repeatedly call for widespread changes to the protocol and threaten to trigger safeguard measures in the deal if the EU fails to agree to an overhaul.
‘It would be unwise, and it will be reckless to invoke Article 16 (safeguard measures) as a response to the proposals from the European Commission,’ Martin told the Dail.
‘I think if such an act was to be taken by the British government. I think it would have far reaching implications for the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.’
The European Commission last month offered Britain a package of measures it said could halve customs paperwork, cut checks on meat, dairy and other British food products by 80 per cent and ensure the undisturbed flow of medicines.
London has said the proposals do not go far enough.
Martin, who said the conditions exist for agreement between the two sides, said US President Joe Biden asked for a brief conversation at the climate summit. Biden, who is proud of his Irish heritage, has shown a keen interest in the protocol.
‘He reiterated to me in the strongest possible terms, how the Good Friday Agreement matters very deeply to his administration as to President Biden himself and he said to me that he had made this unequivocally clear to the British government,’ Martin said, referring to the 1998 peace deal.
Ahead of Lord Frost’s trip to Paris tomorrow, The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘He will be discussing both the (Northern Ireland) protocol and the fisheries issues, we want to emphasise that our position as regards to how we grant licences has not changed in any way.
‘But we are keen to discuss the broader issue of the protocol and come up with substantive changes.
‘It’s entirely up to the French government if they want to reimpose the threats that we saw they both announced and stood back from in recent days.’
Asked what success in Thursday’s meeting in Paris looks like, the spokesman said: ‘We’re seeking substantive changes to the protocol with the EU and these changes are necessary because the protocol as it is being enforced is extremely challenging
‘So we want to seek agreement from the EU that they will make the changes necessary so that it can be sustainable in the long term.’
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