Amid the rising scrutiny over the Government’s handling of the crisis, Mr Barnier indicated to EU diplomats Mr Johnson was using the Internal Markets Bill to shift the focus away from the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Barnier met with officials from eight Eastern Europe countries on Monday night. The EU negotiator also told diplomats in the meeting, he believed the UK is ready for a no deal scenario. According to Politico, he also claimed a deal could still be possible. This comes as Mr Johnson is set to reach a compromise over his Brexit plans. The Prime Minister met with Tory rebels to discuss a way to proceed before the first vote on the UK Internal Market Bill on Monday.
Although the bill has come under increased scrutiny, the legislation was passed 340 to 263 in its first reading in the Commons.
The legislation is designed to enable the trade of goods between the devolved nations.
It also provides the Government with the ability to change parts of the withdrawal agreement which the Prime Minister agreed in October.
The legislation has also caused shockwaves in the US, with Washington warning any future deal may now be at risk.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has previously stated any risk to the peace process in Northern Ireland would hinder the chances of a US-UK trade deal.
Four Congressman wrote: “Many in the United States and in Congress consider the issues of the Good Friday Agreement and a potential US-UK Free Trade Agreement inextricably linked.
“With the issues raised in this letter in mind, we therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland and future options for the bilateral relationship between our two countries.”
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Brexit news: Michel Barnier launches attack on UK
1.27pm update: No 10 reaffirms fisheries fisheries position
Speaking today, a No 10 spokesman confirmed the UK’s position on fisheries with the EU.
They insisted the UK is still pursuing a deal similar to that of the Norway-EU agreement.
This comes amid claims UK officials had offered concession over fisheries.
The spokesman said: “Our position on fisheries has been consistent throughout.
“We’ve been clear that we won’t accept any proposals which compromise our sovereignty of our own fishing waters.
“The draft UK-EU fisheries framework agreement is based on the bilateral arrangement with Norway that the EU already has, that continues to be our approach.”
1.21pm update: Boris Johnson speaks with Tory rebels
No 10 has confirmed the Prime Minister has spoken to senior MP, Sir Bob Neil who was leading the group of 20 Tories, who oppose the Internal Market Bill.
A No 10 spokesman said the Prime Minister had spoken to Sir Bob and that conversation will continue with MPs.
Brexit live: Sadiq Khan’s tweet
12.06pm update: David Davis turns on Boris Johnson
Former Brexit Secretary, David Davis has turned on Boris Johnson amid the controversy surrounding the UK Internal Market Bill.
Amid speculation the legislation may be blocked in the House of Lords, a No 10 spokesperson claimed the peers will not vote against the bill due to the Salisbury Convention.
Under this, peers cannot vote against legislation if it is a manifesto pledge.
In response, Mr Davis said claimed No 10 had misunderstood the convention.
11.34am update: Sadiq Khan heaps pressure on Government
The Mayor of London has issued a message to Mr Johnson today.
He claimed the jobs, the future of businesses and London’s future.
In a tweet, if Mr Johnson fails to do this, the Mayor of London claimed this would be a “disaster”.
11.09am update: UK running out of time
Speaking today, the EU Commission President stated time is running out for a post-Brexit trade deal.
Ms von der Leyen also said: “Talks have not progressed as we would have wished and that leaves us very little time.”
Brexit Live: Ursula von der Leyen conducted her State of the Union speech today
10.52am update: Boris Johnson urged to sign Brexit deal with Taiwan
Tory MP for Cleethorpes and chair of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, Martin Vickers has urged the Prime Minister to look towards Taiwan for the UK’s next trade deal.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Our prosperity depends on free trade, wherever possible, and everything that we can do to expand or increase free trade, then that’s going to be good for everyone.
“They’ve got a highly developed electronic industry routine, how remarkably well they’ve coped with the pandemic.
“I would think that it did nothing but good to come with a closer working relationship.
“If you’re looking to do deals with growing economies, then that’s got to be good for the future.
“I very much hope that we will strike trade deals with many more countries.”
10.17am update: “Withdrawal agreement cannot be changed” warns ursula von der Leyen
Speaking in her address to the European Parliament, the Commission President warned the withdrawal agreement cannot be changed.
She insisted the agreement is the only way to maintain the Northern Ireland peace process.
She said: “This Withdrawal Agreement took three years to negotiate and we worked relentlessly on it line-by-line, word-by-word, and together we succeeded,” she said.
“The European Union and the UK jointly agreed that it was the best and only way for ensuring peace on the island of Ireland and we will never backtrack on that.
“This agreement has been ratified by this house and the House of Commons. It cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded, disapplied.
“This is a matter of law and trust and good faith.”
9.29am update: Robert Buckland comments on Internal Market Bill
Speaking today, the Justice Secretary claimed the UK intends to avoid a breach in the agreement.
He told Sky News: “If we reach that stage, the reason for it is because we judge that sadly, despite everybody’s best efforts, the EU is in a position where we think they are actually breaching their obligations to us.
“It is like an international dispute where clearly there is a breach somewhere but it is going to be the subject of a lot of argument.
“I would like to avoid that, I think we can but we do need to just prepare for that contingency, that ‘break glass in case of emergency’ provision, which I believe this is.”
9.14am update: Michel Barnier admits no deal fear
During a meeting with eight Eastern European diplomats on Monday, the EU negotiator admitted the UK could well walk away from talks.
He indicated the new UK Internal Market Bill could now be an indication of Boris Johnson’s intent to walk away from talks if required.
However, according to Politico, Mr Barnier indicated a deal could well be agreed.
Brexit live: Michel Barnier
8.30am update: UK moves to avoid fisheries deadlock
UK officials offered concessions on fisheries in Brexit talks with the EU last week.
A source told Reuters, offered a “modest” move on the aspect of fisheries.
The issue remains one of the area of divergence and has so far stalled any chance of free trade agreement.
The source added: “The UK definitely seems to be coming around on this, they seem to be moving cautiously towards some opening on fisheries in the technical talks.”
Despite the uproar over Brexit, the UK still has leverage over the EU in order to push through a Brexit deal.
Former Brexit Party MEP candidate Mitch Feierstein told RT UK: “The EU is playing a lot of games but the EU, if you look at what’s going on with Germany’s GDP, you look at what’s going on with the profligate Southern Europeans and all their debt.
“They need all the growth they can possibly muster.
“They need to do trade with the UK. That’s a huge amount of leverage nobody is talking about.”
7.46am update: Coronavirus test centre shuts for post-Brexit lorry park
A testing centre in Ebbsfleet was closed this month to make way for a post-Brexit lorry park.
A leaked letter from Kent County Council said: “We have been notified that the Ebbsfleet testing centre has closed, as the site is required by HMRC for EU Exit.”
According to KentOnline, this new park will be used for custom checks.
A Government spokesman said: “Regional testing sites were set up at great speed and selected for their immediate availability, security and access.
“The regional testing site at Ebbsfleet has ceased operations and a new regional testing site is operating at Curtis Way, Rochester. The relocation will allow the network to continue operating as long as needed.”
7.25am update: Michel Barnier launches attack on the UK
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier has claimed the uproar over Brexit is merely a tactic to shift the focus away from the Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Politico, the EU negotiator told diplomats from eight Eastern European countries the Internal Market Bill, has been used as a provocation.
He did also claim the ploy could also be an indication the UK is ready to push forward with a no deal Brexit.
Source:Daily Express :: UK Feed