With trade negotiations continuing this week, the British trade negotiator has heightened tension before the two sides meet for the eighth round of talks in London. David Frost said the UK would not become a “client state” of the EU.
Not only has David Frost refused to sign up to Barnier’s demands, but he has also said he’s going to push for the “nuclear option” meaning new legislation being created to override EU control in certain parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
The Financial Times suggest sections of the internal market bill are going to be rewritten, removing legal parts of the signed withdrawal agreement in regards to state aid and Northern Ireland customs.
David Frost has personally instigated this push for the nuclear option due to the EU not taking Britain seriously in these negotiations. The Financial Times state that those close to these changes as saying “The bill will explicitly say the government reserves the right to set its own regime, directly setting up UK law in opposition with obligations under the withdrawal agreement, and in full cognisance that this will breach international law.”
Under the current withdrawal agreement, the EU must be notified if there are any changes to state aid rules affecting the Northern Ireland goods market. Still, under the new rewritten bill, UK courts will be forced to follow UK law bypassing the need to notify the EU. This will cut down the EU snooping on UK state aid policy.
A government official said the reason for this move is to protect communities in Northern Ireland in the event of no agreement, the UK government is only being responsible by doing this.
This move is said to have enraged EU negotiators, but at least the EU is now listening to the UK when they say Britain is ready to walk if a deal can not be found before the end of the transition period.
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NEW: 🚨🚨🚨🇬🇧🇪🇺🚨🚨🚨UK planning legislation to override key parts of #brexit withdrawal treaty and Northern Ireland protocol - a potentially HUGE move in negotiations; major ructions in Whitehall - my latest via @FT— Peter Foster (@pmdfoster) September 6, 2020