Brexit news latest: EU and UK diplomats set to meet for emergency talks after Boris Johnson's move to override parts of Withdrawal Agreement

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  • September 10, 2020
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Diplomats from the EU and the UK are set to meet in London for hastily arranged Brexit talks after Boris Johnson‘s move to override key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement break with Brussels.

Michael Gove will talk with EU official Maros Sefcovic on Thursday in an “extraordinary meeting” of the Joint Committee as negotiations between the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost and his Brussels counterpart Michel Barnier continue.

It comes after the Prime Minister unveiled proposed legislation to alter key elements of the Brexit deal with Brussels regarding Northern Ireland, which could breach international law.

Severe criticism from figures in Westminster, Brussels and the international community continued on Wednesday night with US House speaker Nancy Pelosi warning that there will be “absolutely no chance” of a US-UK trade deal passing Congress should the Government override the Brexit deal.

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Labour’s Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) called for the Government to commit to protecting UK food standards by including an assurance on the face of the Environment Bill.

Ms Malhotra told MPs: “The Secretary of State is right that their manifesto promised not to compromise on food standards in trade deals, but twice, twice, the Government have refused to support Labour amendments to put this into law.

“So if over 70% of people don’t want us selling food imported from countries with lower food standards and over 1 million people have signed a petition from the National Farmers’ Union for British food standards to be put into law, why are they refusing to do what the public wants and what the public expects? The country has a right to know.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice replied: “Well in retained EU law we have indeed put in place the existing prohibitions on the sales of poultry washed by chlorine, for instance with beef treated with hormones.

“We have legal prohibitions and our own legal bans on certain practices, those will remain in place and will not change.”


Read more about the controversial Internal Markets Bill:

EU anger grows as Brexit bill that breaks international law published

The Government has published a controversial bill which overrides part of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal with the EU and breaches international law.

The Internal Markets Bill is intended to ensure Northern Ireland can continue to enjoy unfettered access to markets in the rest of the UK, according to the Government.


Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove leaving a Pret a Manger in Westminster, London ahead of emergency Brexit talks:


Tony Abbott has been appointed as an adviser to the relaunched Board of Trade to help to secure post-Brexit deals around the world:

Grant Shapps contradicts new UK trade adviser Tony Abbott over views

A cabinet minister today contradicted the former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott over his views on homosexuality, climate change and women.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said “I’ve always been a very liberal sort of person,” when he was asked about some of Mr Abbott’s views.


Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost arriving at the Cabinet office this morning as Brexit talks continue:


“The EU seeks clarifications from the UK on the full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement”:

‘Extraordinary meeting’ to take place between UK and EU over Brexit

An “extraordinary meeting” between the UK and EU will take place on Thursday after Boris Johnson unveiled proposed legislation to override key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement break with Brussels.

The hastily arranged meeting of the Joint Committee between the UK and EU is being held in London after the EU reacted strongly to the move to alter key elements of the Brexit deal with Brussels regarding Northern Ireland.


Grant Shapps defends Government decision for Tony Abbott to represent the UK in trade talks. 

Grant Shapps has said “I’ve always been a very liberal sort of person,” when asked about former Australian PM Tony Abbott’s views on homosexuality, female leaders and climate change.

Speaking to Sky News, the Transport Secretary said: “Anyone who doubts that the global temperatures are changing and that it has something to do with men and women being on this planet is wrong, so I don’t agree with that.”

When asked why the Government has chosen Mr Abbott to represent the UK in trade talks, he cited Mr Abbott’s track record of negotiating deals in Asia for Australia.

“The UK hasn’t been in the business of negotiating trade deals for 45 years, more now, since that went to the EU to do, so we welcome help and support in doing that but as we say, one of 16 people doing it, he’s not being paid,” he said.

Mr Shapps added: “I’ve always been a very liberal sort of person, I’m really not interested in what people do in their private lives and I certainly believe climate change is real and we have to act on it.

“But I do agree that Britain needs a really good trade deal or trade deals around the world and it’s a great opportunity for the UK and we need expertise in it.

“Here’s somebody who’s got global expertise who was the prime minister of Australia, he’s not just somebody at random and he’s one voice in a whole bunch of different voices unpaid for the role and I think we will be able to secure jobs in Britain by having great trade deals in other parts of the world.”


Home Secretary Priti Patel will made a written statement in the Commons today about changes in immigration rules. 


The Government’s law officers need to ask themselves ‘some very deep questions’ – Lord Garnier

Conservative former solicitor general Lord (Edward) Garnier said the Government’s law officers need to ask themselves some “very deep questions” over the Internal Market Bill which ministers have admitted will breach international law.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

This breaches the rule of law, the job of the law officers amongst many other things is to maintain the rule of law in government – to make sure that ministers behave by it.

And if they insist in not doing so then one’s advice would conflict with the client’s instructions and you would have to go…

I think the law officers need to ask themselves some very deep questions.

If we can’t be trusted to abide by our word on this matter, well then why would anyone trust us in the future?


The UK government could leave itself open to legal challenges from the business world if a flawed Brexit deal is rushed through:

Botched Brexit deal ‘could spark legal challenges from business world’

The UK government could leave itself open to legal challenges from the business world if a flawed Brexit deal is rushed through in the next few months, lawyers have warned.

With crunch talks underway this week between Britain and the EU in a bid to avoid a ‘no deal’, global law firm Mayer Brown has raised the spectre of protracted judicial review proceedings if an agreement is bungled.


A senior EU official will travel to London on Thursday for an extraordinary meeting of the Joint Committee over proposed changes to the Brexit deal.

The EU Commission’s vice-president for interinstitutional relations and foresight Maros Sefcovic will meet Michael Gove to discuss the controversial plan, which UK ministers have admitted will breach international law.


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Nancy Pelosi wades in to Withdrawal Agreement row

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, has warned the UK there will be “absolutely no chance” of a US-UK trade deal passing Congress should the Government override the Brexit deal signed by Boris Johnson.

In a statement on Wednesday she said: “The Good Friday Agreement is the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and an inspiration for the whole world.

“Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the stability brought by the invisible and frictionless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.

“The UK must respect the Northern Ireland Protocol as signed with the EU to ensure the free flow of goods across the border.

“If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress.

“The Good Friday Agreement is treasured by the American people and will be proudly defended in the United States Congress.”


No US-UK trade deal if Good Friday Agreement undermined, says Nancy Pelosi


Big battle expected in the Lords over proposed changes to Withdrawal Agreement


Starmer criticises government on taking ‘reputational risk’ over Brexit

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The Government should consider the reputational risk that it is taking in the proposed way forward.

“But what I think people want more than anything is a deal.

“That’s in the national interest, that’s what the Prime Minister promised – an oven-ready good deal. He needs to deliver on that promise.”

Sir Keir added: “What they are trying to do is wrong and that’s why previous prime ministers are calling it out.

“But the way around this is to get a deal. That was what was promised, and I say to the Prime Minister: Deliver on your promise and then focus on the pandemic, but, if you fail to get a deal, Prime Minister, you own that failure.”

Sir Keir said there were no cross-party talks going on to try and defeat the proposed legislation.


Johnson responds to Major

Asked about Sir John Major’s remarks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Of course, I see it very differently.

“I see the risk that certain, I think, extreme interpretations of the treaty might place (on) the peace process in Northern Ireland, to the Good Friday Agreement.

He said “nobody wants to see a barrier down the Irish Sea”, adding that it would be “very, very injurious”.

Mr Johnson continued: “What we are doing is putting a safety net… to protect peace and to protect the settlement in our United Kingdom, and that is the purpose of what we are doing.”


Former PM John Major weighs in on government’s decision to override Brexit deal

Sir John Major has joined senior Tories in criticising the Government’s decision to override key elements of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Ministers have acknowledged that provisions in the UK Internal Market Bill, published on Wednesday, are in breach of international law.

In a statement, the former prime minister said: “For generations, Britain’s word – solemnly given – has been accepted by friend and foe. Our signature on any treaty or agreement has been sacrosanct.

“Over the last century, as our military strength has dwindled, our word has retained its power.

“If we lose our reputation for honouring the promises we make, we will have lost something beyond price that may never be regained.”


Brexit deal ‘was signed in a rush’


From The Evening Standard’s cartoonist