Boris Johnson tells EU to not threaten Britain over trade row

WION Web Team
London, London, UK (Great Britain) Published: Sep 12, 2020, 04:35 PM(IST)

Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

With the EU stepping up planning for talks on trade to end without a deal, Johnson has accused its negotiators of threatening to impose a food blockade between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked the European Union to not threaten his country, saying a bill which would breach a divorce treaty with the bloc was needed to protect the country's integrity.

With the EU stepping up planning for talks on trade to end without a deal, Johnson has accused its negotiators of threatening to impose a food blockade between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

"Let's make the EU take their threats off the table", Johnson said on Twitter on Saturday. "And let's get this Bill through, back up our negotiators, and protect our country."

British lawmakers will on Monday begin debating the Internal Markets Bill, which one minister has said would breach international law "in a very specific and limited way".

The government says it is needed to clarify the Northern Ireland protocol element of the Brexit deal it signed in January to protect free trade between the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom.

But European lawmakers said on Friday they would not approve any new trade deal unless the withdrawal agreement was fully implemented, while there is also talk of possible legal action.

Both sides have set a deadline of the end of October for a deal, raising the prospect that nearly $1 trillion in trade between the EU and Britain could be thrown into confusion at the start of 2021 when a transition period ends.

Johnson's bill also faces opposition from senior figures in his Conservative Party and some of his own lawmakers who are unhappy at the prospect of infringing international law.

In a video conference call with his lawmakers on Friday he appealed for support for his bill and for them to avoid repeating the "squabbling" over the Brexit divorce deal which saw some quit the party and others thrown out.

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