EU and Northern Irish officials responded with anger to the report | Andy Rain/EPA
UK denies it’s planning to rip up Brexit Withdrawal Agreement
No. 10 is merely seeking to tie up ‘one or two loose ends,’ insists Environment Secretary George Eustice.
Updated 9/7/20, 11:33 AM CET
The U.K. is “committed to implementing” the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, Environment Secretary George Eustice said Monday.
Responding to a Financial Times report that the U.K. planned this week to introduce legislation that would undermine parts of the Withdrawal Agreement on state aid and Northern Ireland, Eustice told the BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “We have a Withdrawal Agreement, and that includes the Northern Ireland protocol. And we are committed to implementing that.”
Eustice said the U.K. government is seeking to merely tie up “one or two loose ends where there is a requirement for legal certainty.”
Later, in a separate interview on BBC Breakfast, Eustice said that if the U.K. failed to reach a trade deal with the EU prior to the end of the Brexit transition period, “we would still leave on time and we would do that under the terms of the existing Withdrawal Agreement that we’ve got. It’s not posturing or a threat, this has been the reality of our position right from the beginning.”
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was asked about the FT report in an interview with France Inter radio on Monday.