Posted September 13, 2020 5:29 pm by

London, United Kingdom, Sep 13 – Ireland on Sunday rejected an incendiary claim by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the EU is plotting to destabilise the UK, as another week of Brexit high drama beckoned ahead of a stormy parliamentary debate in London.

A war of words escalated about a new British government bill that London admits is in violation of its EU divorce treaty — legislation that has sparked a furious response from former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major, as well as sitting MPs.

Johnson’s contention that the European Union is plotting to choke off food supplies with destabilising new trade barriers between Britain and Northern Ireland is “simply not the case”, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee told Sky News.

“Any suggestion that this is going to create a new border is simply not true,” she said, while Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney dismissed Johnson’s claim as “spin”.

McEntee said that a protocol on Northern Ireland in the EU withdrawal treaty was agreed by both sides to ensure fair competition after Brexit, and to comply with a 1998 peace pact that ended three decades of unrest in the province.

The treaty also “ensures the integrity of Northern Ireland as part of the UK”, she said, and it “ensures we do not see any kind of a border re-emerging”.

Writing in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, Johnson had accused the EU of threatening to tear the UK apart by imposing a food “blockade” between Britain and Northern Ireland, which is meant to enjoy a special status with the EU after Brexit.

Johnson said the EU’s stance justified his government’s introduction of the new legislation to regulate the UK’s internal market, after a post-Brexit transition period expires at the end of this year.

– Resignation talk –

But writing in Le Parisien newspaper, French European affairs minister Clement Beaune said it was “inconceivable” that a “great democracy” like the UK would break its word.

Charles Michel, who heads the EU Council of governments, said Britain’s “international credibility” was at stake as both sides battle to unwind nearly 50 years of economic integration.

He insisted Johnson’s government live up to its binding promises.

“Time for UK Government to take its responsibilities,” he tweeted after speaking to Irish prime minister Micheal Martin, while EU negotiator Michel Barnier said the protocol on Northern Ireland “is not a threat to the integrity of the UK”.

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