Draft bill to override Northern Ireland protocol to be published on Monday

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The controversial legislation to override the Northern Ireland protocol will be published on Monday after a row between the government and Eurosceptics about whether it is tough enough.

The draft bill, which critics say may be illegal under international law, has been the subject of fierce lobbying by arch Eurosceptics in recent days who want the protocol dropped entirely.

Boris Johnson and other senior ministers have been put under pressure by European Research Group (ERG) MPs and the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) to put forward legislation intending to take primacy over the protocol and removing the role of the European court of justice.

Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, and the prime minister met Bill Cash, an MP from the ERG, earlier this week to discuss the legislation.

The laws have been redrafted over the last week but cabinet ministers have pushed back against giving the ERG too big a say in the outcome.

The EU has hardened against the UK’s actions in recent weeks, with the Irish taoiseach warning that ditching the protocol would be a “historic low point” in relations, citing the Ukraine war as a reason why international law must be respected.

Micheál Martin said in an address to the European parliament this week that breaching the protocol would make the world less safe and that Johnson must not “treat lightly” the peace on the island of Ireland.

However, Conor Burns, a minister for Northern Ireland and ally of Johnson, said the UK government was “recalibrating, not tearing up” the protocol.

The legislation is also opposed by a chunk of Johnson’s own MPs on the One Nation wing of the Conservative party, with the former Treasury minister Jesse Norman warning on Monday it was possibly illegal.

The discontent on both sides highlights the difficulty Johnson may have in getting any legislation through parliament and in particular the House of Lords, where the Conservatives do not have a majority.

Source: The Guardian

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