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Boris Johnson says Brussels could ‘carve up our country’ if Tory MPs rebel to block Brexit bill

BORIS JOHNSON has said Brussels could “carve up our country” if Tory MPs rebel to block the Brexit bill.

The PM is facing a backbench revolt over his bombshell threat to rip up parts of the Withdrawal Agreement.

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Mr Johnson has said his controversial legislation to override parts of his Brexit deal is needed to end EU threats to install the “blockade” in the Irish Sea.

But in a rallying speech to 250 Tory MPs over Zoom, he urged the party to show “resolve” in the face of the EU’s bid to divide them.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Johnson also said going against the bill could “seriously endanger peace and stability” in Northern Ireland.

“We are now hearing that unless we agree to the EU’s terms, the EU will use an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose a full-scale trade border down the Irish sea,” he wrote.

“We are being told that the EU will not only impose tariffs on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland but that they might actually stop the transport of food products from GB to NI.

“I have to say that we never seriously believed that the EU would be willing to use a Treaty, negotiated in good faith, to blockade one part of the UK, to cut it off; or that they would actually threaten to destroy the economic and territorial integrity of the UK.”

The EU has said the move is a serious breach of trust and has threatened to take legal action if Mr Johnson does not alter the UK Internal Market Bill by the end of the month.

But the Prime Minister has doubled down and argued it is “crucial for peace and for the Union itself” and said voting it down would reduce the chances of a trade deal with the EU.

He said “in the last few weeks” he learned his negotiators had discovered there “may be a serious misunderstanding about the terms” of the Withdrawal Agreement he signed in October.

Mr Johnson argued it was agreed during “torrid” days with the deadline for a deal fast approaching while “negotiating with one hand tied behind our back” because Parliament blocked a no-deal.

“If we fail to pass this bill, or if we weaken its protections, then we will, in fact, reduce the chances of getting that Canada-style deal,” he wrote.

Both Ireland and the EU, however, have warned that Mr Johnson’s plans pose a serious risk to the peace process rather than protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

Amid the worsening atmosphere between London and Brussels, it emerged the EU had even raised the prospect that it could block exports of animal products from the UK once the current Brexit transition period comes to a close at the end of the year.

In a statement following the latest round of talks on Thursday, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there were “many uncertainties” about the UK’s animal hygiene regime.

He said “more clarity” was needed if Britain was to receive the “third-country listing” entitling it to export animal products to the EU.

The “third-country listing” is made up of other countries such as Andorra, New Zealand, the USA and South Korea.

On the British side, there was surprise at the comments as the UK continues to apply EU standards, although it is understood the issue has been raised previously in the negotiations.

A Government spokesman said: “The right to export is the absolute basis for a relationship between two countries that trade agricultural goods.

“It is a licence to export and entirely separate from the issue of food standards. It would be very unusual for the EU to go down this route and deny the UK listing.”

In 2019 the UK exported roughly £5.7billion worth of food.

 

 

 

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