Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has called on Prime Minister Johnson to ditch the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU amid a row over international law.
The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) leaves the British province of Northern Ireland — an integral part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — under EU control in some respects if a trade deal between the UK and the EU cannot be negotiated.
Negotiations have indeed stalled, as the EU continues to demand the British submit to terms including ad hoc EU regulation of Brexit Britain’s business environment — in pursuit of a so-called “level playing field” — and continued EU control over Britain’s national fisheries as the price of a trade deal.
Consequently, the Johnson administration has put forward an Internal Market Bill which would empower British government ministers to disapply elements of the WA which might create barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The legislation would also ensure that the EU’s control over state aid in Britain which the WA provides for would be strictly limited to Northern Ireland — leading the EU and its anti-Brexit British allies to attack the British government for undermining international law.
Arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage has responded to the row by calling for WA to be scrapped entirely, denouncing it as “always rotten” with “terms that could effectively mean the end of the UK as a single entity” in an article for the Express.
Farage Says New Deal Is ‘Just Not Brexit’ as DUP Says It Won’t Support It https://t.co/9v3Ac57gj4
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 17, 2019
“I was opposed to the agreement but nobody at that time was prepared to hear it. Brex-haustion had set in and the public liked the upbeat tone they heard from Boris Johnson,” Farage recalled, the WA having been negotiated by what was at the time a minority administration struggling to persuade a then-Remainer dominated House of Commons to accept anything resembling a genuine break with the EU.
“Make no mistake, this is a mess of the Government’s own making but the fact that they are now insisting that we are to become an independent country is to be warmly welcomed,” Farage added.
“As Brussels looks pretty unlikely to change any of the documents, perhaps the time has come for us to ditch the Withdrawal Agreement as it currently stands… if Mr Barnier thinks he can trap Britain into Brussels’ rather inept orbit then he has another thing coming.”
NEW Statement on internal market bill from Northern Ireland office (diff to one issued by BEIS)
NI business will have "true unfettered access… without paperwork" for trade with GB. On state aid, says while EU rules apply in NI "GB will not b subject to EU rules in this area" pic.twitter.com/q6Fw9itKV6
— lisa o'carroll (@lisaocarroll) September 8, 2020
Farage’s intervention on the increasingly rancorous negotiations with the EU comes as Express.co.uk claims to have seen a dossier of EU legal advice suggesting that Britain could be dragged before European judges if its government presses on with legislation amending the Withdrawal Agreement, with the possibility of fines and other penalties for failing to submit to it in its current form in full.
“The [European] Court of Justice has full powers as provided for under the Treaties, including the possibility to impose a lump sum or penalty payment on the State that has not taken the necessary measures to comply with the ruling of the Court establishing the breach [of the agreement],” the alleged legal advice is reported to state.
It is said to add that “in case of non-payment or persisting non-compliance” by the British, further sanctions including “suspending… obligations arising form [sic] the Withdrawal Agreement or from future EU/UK agreement”.
While the United Kingdom has technically left the European Union already, it remains suspended in a “transition” state until the end of 2020, with the supremacy of EU law and the EU courts remaining in place.
Biden Campaign, Democrats Oppose Britain’s Brexit Strategy, Threaten UK-U.S. Trade Deal if Biden Wins https://t.co/ZAe892Nt5K
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 10, 2020