- Michael Gove said he plans to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol and is “very cool”.
- Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to unveil unilateral changes to the Brexit deal next week.
- However, the EU has warned that such a move could spark a trade war and undermine the entire agreement.
One of the British government’s senior ministers said he was “very cold” about a colleague’s plans to unilaterally revoke the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Foreign Minister Liz Truss is preparing a new bill to replace the existing pact, and union members are outraged by the impact of the border checkpoint on trade between the UK and Northern Ireland.
When asked how upset he was about moving on a scale of 1 to 10, level-up secretary Michael Gove said in an interview with LBC: “Minus 5. That’s great. “I’m a big fan of Liz Truss,” he said.
Gove described Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a “professional negotiator”, suggesting that the move could be a tactic to reach out to the European Union.
“We will talk to the EU, but nothing is off the table,” he told Sky News, adding that “preparing to leave” is important.
Truss, who is due to submit legislation as early as next week, said on Tuesday that existing proposals in Brussels “do not adequately address the real issues affecting Northern Ireland and will set us back in some cases.”
“Inflation is rising, trade is severely disrupted, Northern Ireland is subject to the Irish Sea and other laws and taxes, there is no administration and it is a threat to peace and stability,” she added. The answer can no longer be checks, paperwork and confusion.
“We have always favored a negotiated solution, but if we cannot find a solution, we will not hesitate to take steps to stabilize the situation in Northern Ireland.”
The government has warned that the move could spark a trade war with the EU.
In a comment reported by The Daily Telegraph,Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said, “Our message is very clear. Don’t touch this… If that agreement is canceled, I think the whole system will be cancelled. We will not see any other solution.”
European Commission Vice-Chairman Maros Sevkovic said that “renegotiation is not an option” and urged the UK to devise a dispute resolution plan in line with Brussels’ “determination and creativity”.
Asked about the warning, Gove told Sky News:
“Boris and Liz, they are a negotiating duo I trust.”