UK shelves controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill as EU deal reached

UK shelves controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill as EU deal reached
Опубликовано: Monday, 27 February 2023 18:39

Boris Johnson-era legislation that prompted pushback from Brussels now set to fall.

LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ditched a Brussels-angering bill aimed at tearing up the Northern Ireland protocol as he reached an agreement with EU on post-Brexit trade rules.

The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill was introduced by Sunak’s predecessor Boris Johnson while the U.K. and EU remained deadlocked over arrangements for Northern Ireland. In recent days, Brexiteers including Johnson have urged the current PM to stand by the legislation to pile pressure on Brussels even as a deal took shape.

A legal note Downing Street slipped out alongside the newly-unveiled Windsor Framework papers said the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which was waiting to begin its passage through the House of Lords, now had “no legal justification” after the two sides negotiated the new agreement. Its dumping could cause trouble for Sunak, who is trying to convince his own backbenchers that he has agreed a pact that meets their demands.

For its part, the EU was straightforward in describing what the Windsor Framework meant for the bill, which would have allowed London to unilaterally stop adhering to the rules of the protocol.

“The new arrangements are incompatible with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill,” an explainer from the Brussels side noted. “The U.K. government has agreed not to proceed with the bill so that it will fall in the U.K. parliament at the end of the Parliamentary session.”

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