UK’s new trading rules in Northern Ireland won’t break the law, minister says

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Britain’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis walks in Downing Street in London, Britain February 21, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson

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LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) – Legislation Britain will unilaterally introduce on Monday to scrap some of the rules that govern post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland will not breach international law, Minister Brandon said on Sunday. Lewis.

“The legislation we will introduce tomorrow is within the law; what we are about to do is legal and correct,” the Northern Ireland secretary told Sky News.

When Britain left the EU, Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to a protocol that effectively left Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market and customs union to keep the border open with the EU. Ireland Specified in the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

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Any unilateral decision by London to cancel the treaty will inflame a simmering dispute with the European Union.

Irish Sinn Fein, the nationalist party that won historic victory in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections last month, said on Sunday that Britain would “undoubtedly” break the law by imposing changes unilateral to the protocol. Read more

Lewis, however, said the protocol needed to be changed because it “fundamentally undermines” the Good Friday agreement.

He said it disrupted the lives of people in Northern Ireland, prevented the functioning of government institutions and failed to respect the UK’s internal market.

Lewis declined to say how the protocol would be changed, but said the government would establish the legal basis on which it is presenting the legislation.

Sinn Fein chair Mary Lou McDonald said London could work with Dublin and Brussels to improve enforcement of the protocol.

“There is a will here, there is a will to engage from the European Commission, but the UK government has refused to engage,” she told Sky News from Dublin.

“He has not been constructive, he has sought a destructive course and is now proposing to introduce legislation which will undoubtedly violate international law.”

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Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Catherine Evans and Jan Harvey

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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