27/11/2022

Boris Johnson will proceed with his controversial Brexit bill despite US president-elect Joe Biden having previously warned the UK over the draft legislation.

Boris Johnson will proceed with his controversial Brexit bill despite US president-elect Joe Biden having previously warned the UK over the draft legislation.
After congratulating Mr Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris on their victory, the British Prime Minister told broadcasters he intended to push ahead with the Internal Market Bill, with peers due to vote on it this week.
The bill would override clauses in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland and the British government has admitted it breaks international law.
British Environment Secretary George Eustice today insisted the legislation was “not about undermining the peace deal in Ireland”. 
He told Sky there was “goodwill on both sides” to progress towards a Brexit trade deal.
Mr Eustice said while differences remained between the UK and the EU, Britain was open to a “sensible compromise” on fishing.
“On fisheries we’ve always been open to doing a sensible approach, looking potentially at agreements that might span a couple, three years for instance.
“The issue will become what are the sharing arrangements, how much mutual access do we allow in one another’s waters and that’s obviously a discussion that will happen annually but there may also be a partnership agreement that sets out the ground rules.”
Joe Biden, who has Irish heritage, warned last September that the Good Friday Agreement cannot be “a casualty of Brexit” and said a UK-US trade deal would be dependent on the peace terms being upheld.
Mr Johnson, asked whether he was determined to pass the bill in the face of Mr Biden’s criticisms, said yesterday: “Yes, as I told Ursula (von der Leyen, European Commission president) the parliamentary timetable goes ahead.
“The whole point of that bill, and indeed the Finance Bill, is to protect and uphold the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland.
“And again, that’s one of the things that we’re united on with our friends in the White House.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain had listened “very carefully to our American friends”, including those in the powerful Irish lobby in Washington, about their concerns regarding Brexit’s impact on Northern Ireland.
He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show he remained “confident we will navigate all of those issues sensitively, correctly”.
Labour leader Keir Starmer, however, has called on Downing Street to scrap the Brexit bill if it wants to build a world-leading alliance with the Biden administration, which is due to be inaugurated in January.
“We will soon have a president in the Oval Office who has been a passionate advocate for the preservation of the Good Friday Agreement,” he wrote in an article for The Guardian.
“He, like governments across the world, will take a dim view if our Prime Minister ploughs ahead with proposals to undermine that agreement.
“If the Government is serious about a reset in its relationship with the United States, then it should take an early first step and drop these proposals.”
Last week, the UK breached the deadline for responding to legal action by the European Commission over the Internal Market Bill.
A “reasoned opinion” is the next stage in the infringement procedure taken by the EU.