Brexit: France says it will not sign up to bad trade deal with UK just to meet Johnson’s deadline – live news

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Brexit: France says it will not sign up to bad trade deal with UK just to meet Johnson’s deadline – live news




Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

There are two government statements in the Commons this afternoon.

2 Govt statements confirmed today:

1. UK’s points based Immigration system – @patel4witham

2. Flooding Update – George Eustice

This morning Leo Varadkar, who remains Ireland’s caretaker prime minister after the inconclusive general election, said there must be no “backsliding” from the UK on the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol, the deal that will keep Northern Ireland in the single market after Brexit, effectively putting a customs border down the Irish Sea.

Responding to a report in the Sunday Times (paywall) saying Boris Johnson intends to “get round” those requirements, Varadkar said:

We totally understand why they may want to minimise any checks at the ports and airports in Northern Ireland, we want to do that too, but the agreement clearly says if there have to be checks anywhere, they would happen at the ports and airports in Northern Ireland rather than on the land border between north and south.

So I am saying to the British government, there can be no backsliding on the withdrawal agreement, let’s not even go there and let’s focus instead on what should be the next phase, which is negotiating a free trade agreement between the European Union and Ireland and the UK so we can protect jobs and our economy.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit team has been ordered to draw up plans to “get around” the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit withdrawal agreement so the prime minister can play hardball with Brussels over trade.

Officials in Taskforce Europe, run by Johnson’s EU negotiator David Frost, are working in secret on proposals to ensure that there do not need to be checks on goods passing from Britain to Northern Ireland.

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