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Liz Truss will present the bill in the UK parliament on Monday afternoon. Alamy Stock Photo
protocol problems

UK bill to unilaterally change Northern Ireland Protocol will be published on Monday

The Taoiseach said the UK’s plans to act unilaterally over the protocol would be “deeply damaging”.

UK LEGISLATION WHICH attempts to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol without the agreement of the European Union will be published on Monday.

The bill to unilaterally change aspects of the UK’s Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU will be presented by UK foreign secretary Liz Truss on Monday afternoon.

The protocol ensures there is no hard border on the island of Ireland by Northern Ireland effectively remaining in the EU’s single market for goods. This has created checks on trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Reports in UK media indicate UK prime minister Boris Johnson has been warned by Tory Eurosceptics that they will vote against the legislation if there are any attempts to water it down to make it more acceptable to Brussels.

The European Commission has repeatedly rejected UK demands that the Brexit deal be changed.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin this week said the UK’s plans to act unilaterally over the protocol would be “deeply damaging” and mark a “historic low point”.

Martin added that he disagrees with the UK government’s handling of the protocol and accused it of failing to engage with the EU.

Yesterday evening, Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill warned the UK Government against unilateral moves to change the protocol during an address to party members in Belfast.

O’Neill said: “Boris Johnson knows that to gamble the protocol is to breach international law and to jeopardise the British Government’s agreement with the EU on their withdrawal and future trading relationship, with colossal political and economic impact.

“The threat of unilateral action by the Tories to legislate and breach international law serves nobody’s interests, anywhere, at any time.”

At the same time, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson was addressing a party meeting in Kilkeel, Co Down, where he said there is a “unity of purpose within unionism in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol”.

He added: “Even opinion polls show that the vast majority of unionists support our stance that the protocol must be resolved before devolution can be restored.”

The DUP has refused to allow the power sharing Assembly to meet or an executive to be formed as part of its protest against the protocol, which has created a trade border in the Irish Sea.

Additional reporting from Press Association

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