Johnson Accuses EU of Trying to Break Up Post-Brexit UK
The British leader has argued the controversial UK Internal Market Act will protect the territorial integrity of the UK.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thrown flagrant accusations at the European Union insisting that the Union is trying to break up the United Kingdom in order to punish it for Brexit.
Johnson spoke on Monday at the House of Commons urging British lawmakers to support controversial legislation that would override parts of the Brexit treaty which Brussels and London managed to strike last year, more than 3 years after the Brexit referendum in the UK.
According to the British leader, the EU is using provisions in the Brexit treaty designed to preserve the peace in Northern Ireland as a means of exerting pressure on the UK in the ongoing post-Brexit trade negotiations.
“They are threatening to carve tariff borders across our own country, divide our own land, change the very economic geography of the UK,” he said, as cited by AFP and France24.
“What we cannot do now is tolerate a situation where our EU counterparts seriously believe that they have the power to break up our country,” Johnson stated.
“That illusion must be decently despatched,” he argued.
The British Prime Minister spoke ahead of the first vote on the UK Internal Market Bill, which has caused outrage both in Britain and in Brussels as it would violate international law.
The EU has demanded the bill be withdrawn before the end of the month as it would break the UK’s commitments under the Brexit deal.
The draft legislation has worsened Brussels – London relations against the backdrop of the failing trade negotiations between the Union and the UK whose deadline for reaching an agreement is the end of the year.
The bill has also provoked threats of rebellions and resignations among MPs from Johnson’s Conservative Party.
All living former UK Prime Ministers – John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May – have spoken out against the law, warning that it would shatter Britain’s international image.
Johnson, however, argued on Monday that the new bill would “create a legal safety net” by allowing ministers to overrule parts of the Brexit deal to “guarantee the integrity of our United Kingdom”.
“Some people will feel unease over the use of these powers – and I share that sentiment myself,” he said.
The British leader added, however, that the powers to override the Brexit treaty would not be needed if an EU trade deal was agreed.
On Monday, Johnson suggested Brussels was deliberately abusing the arrangements that see the Northern Ireland continue to follow some EU laws, as a way of keeping open the border with EU member Ireland.
The UK formally left the EU in the so called Brexit on January 31, 2020, but remains bound by EU rules for a transitional period by the end of the year.
An open border is key to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian violence that left more than 3,500 people dead.
(Banner image: Boris Johnson on Twitter)