The European Union has demanded that the UK government withdraws legislation which could break parts of the Withdrawal Agreement as Brussels threatens to walk out of Brexit trade talks. The European Commission warned Downing Street if the Internal Market Bill was not scrapped the EU would no longer negotiate with a trade deal with the UK and would sue Britain. However Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove hit back at the EU’s demands.
Mr Gove met his EU counterpart on Thursday to discuss the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. Both sides insisted on their position, with the EU saying they would go to court to prevent the UK from breaking any part of the Brexit treaty.
The UK government says it is putting in place contingency planning in the event of a No Deal and that it was protecting Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement. The two sides are in a war of words over a proposed law which would mean the UK government determines rules on state aid in Northern Ireland as opposed to Brussels, and that Northern Ireland businesses would not have to fill out export forms when sending goods to the UK. The European Union is insisting this would breach international law, and that if the legislation wasn’t shelved by the end of the month Brexit talks would be over.
Germany’s ambassador to the United Kingdom tweeted in response to the bill: “In more than 30 years as a diplomat I have not experienced such a fast, intentional and profound deterioration of a negotiation.”
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