Controversy erupted amid reports the UK’s new Internal Market Bill could remove certain legal elements within the withdrawal agreement. Due to the withdrawal agreement having already been agreed by the two parties, EU officials have expressed their concern it could be violated. One expert, however, has explained what the UK’s plan over the withdrawal agreement may actually mean.
Commenting today, Sam Lowe, senior researcher for the Centre for European Reform revealed the UK is not attempting to “renege” on the agreement.
Although he claimed the UK is not attempting to “renege” on the agreement, he said it is also a “risky” approach.
He said: “UK isn’t attempting to renege on Withdrawal Agreement commitments, rather it is attempting to increase its leverage over EU in discussions on how it should be implemented and interpreted by cementing UK view in domestic legislation.
“So limits on scope of EU state aid rules; removes need for exit summary declaration on NI to GB trade, and UK view on when/how tariffs applied to goods traded from the GB to NI.
“Issues can be resolved as part of trade deal/in joint committee.
“But it’s a risky approach, for sure.”
According to the Financial Times, the UK Government is set to introduce the Internal Market Bill which could remove certain legal elements concerning Northern Ireland in the withdrawal agreement.
A source told the newspaper the move could undermine the agreement which was signed by the Prime Minister in October.
JUST IN: Brexit LIVE: Get real or we’re off! Boris stuns EU with new deadline
The accusations the legislation will seek to undermine the withdrawal agreement have so far been refuted by the UK officials.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice insisted the new legislation will clear up certain details on Northern Ireland customs.
He told Times Radio today: “The withdrawal agreement itself and Northern Ireland recognise that there were further points of detail that needed to be ironed out.
“Michael Gove has been leading on that work to resolve some of these technical issues around how tariffs are applied and when it’s right to apply them.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We are fully committed to implementing the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland protocol and we have already taken many practical steps to do.”
As referenced by Mr Lowe, the issue of state aid has remained a point of difference between the two sides.