Legislation drawn up

More talks ‘preferred’ as Truss plans to scrap NI protocol

Liz Truss
Liz Truss: drawing up legislation

Westminster is under pressure to agree to further talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol rather than take unilateral action to scrap it.

The Foreign Office is said to have drawn up draft legislation to remove the need for all checks on goods being sent from Britain to Northern Ireland to resolve the ongoing trade dispute and that it would be contained in the Queen’s speech.

According to one report this would also allow businesses in the province to disregard EU rules and regulations and take away the power of the European Court of Justice to rule on issues relating to Northern Ireland.

If passed, the bill would override the protocol agreed by Johnson in 2019 and put the UK in breach of its obligations under the withdrawal agreement.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is likely to justify her plan by pointing to the Democratic Unionist Party’s intention to boycott a new government in Northern Ireland until the protocol issue is resolved.

But rather than over-ride international law sources say the UK government should prioritise continued negotiations with Brussels.

It was reported at the weekend that Ms Truss faces Cabinet opposition, particularly from Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Communities Secretary Michael Gove, to her plans to rip up the protocol.

The Prime Minister has said he does not plan to be personally involved in the Northern Ireland talks, while Downing Street played down the reported Cabinet rift over the protocol.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “No decisions have yet been taken on the way forward. The Deputy Prime Minister made clear the situation, it’s very serious.”

The Queen will not deliver the traditional speech in parliament for the first time since 1963 because of what was described as episodic mobility problems.

Prince Charles will read the speech and will be accompanied to parliament by Prince William.

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