UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the British government’s plans to set aside some parts of the current Brexit deal he had previously negotiated with the European Union to safeguard the United Kingdom’s future as a political and cultural entity.
Prime Minister Johnson has said the Brussels based body has demonstrated an “extreme” interpretation of the previously agreed treaty that could essentially put the UK’s future in danger.
In a widely read column published on Saturday in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson wrote that his Conservative government’s Internal Market Bill is designed to put an end to European Union threats to put in place a “blockade” in the Irish Sea that Johnson says could eventually “carve up our country.”
The Irish Sea is the body of water between England, Wales, and Scotland, and Northern Ireland (see below).
Late last week the British government admitted the moves do actually break international law in parts, and this has led to an expected furor across the English Channel in Europe.
However, with Mr, Johnson’s government set to debate the issue further and the clock ticking, some analysts now say UK-EU talks could break down entirely in the next few weeks. Should this be the case, both the UK and EU will start imposing tariffs and limits on trade from January 1st, 2021.
Europe’s latest furor over the British approach to negotiations is the result of London reducing the concept of a pre-agreed oversight by Europe on the passage of goods between (mainland) Britain and Northern Ireland in the case of no agreement before negotiations end.
The move was seen as London taking out an “insurance policy” by Michael Gove, a senior member of the British cabinet on nationwide TV on Saturday.
The ‘Ireland issue’ has long proven ‘thorny’ in negotiations with the EU with Brussels making demands that go against decades long British efforts to bring peace to the island of Ireland, with an open border seen as a crucial part of protecting the peace in the largely Protestant British north.
Mr. Johnson said in his column that he was “now hearing” the British must either acquiesce to the European Union’s trade demands or face “an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose a full-scale trade border down the Irish Sea.”
“I have to say that we never seriously believed that the EU would be willing to use a treaty, negotiated in good faith, to blockade one part of the UK, to cut it off; or that they would actually threaten to destroy the economic and territorial integrity of the UK,” Mr. Johnson wrote.