Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020

Brexit betrayal fears: Boris Johnson told to make crucial changes to unshackle UK from EU

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Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU have again stalled. As we come to the end of the transition period questions have begun arising on how well Boris Johnson will have kept the Brexit promises he made during his election campaign. Director of the UK in a Changing Europe, Professor Anand Menon argued the UK will remain under EU state aid rules post-Brexit.

While speaking on Brexit Watch with Jonathan Saxty, Professor Menon argued changes needed to be made to the withdrawal agreement the UK has already signed.

Professor Menon said: “Bear in mind that in the Northern Ireland protocol there is a stipulation about the EU state aid rules.

“These are precisely the rules the Government is utterly rejecting during the Brexit negotiations, those rules will continue to apply to Northern Ireland.

“If you end up with UK wide tax measures to help businesses, which help businesses in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, they will come under the purview of EU state aid rules because they apply for Northern Ireland.”

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Mr Menon noted how Boris Johnson will struggle to fulfil all of his Brexit promises if withdrawal agreement changes are not made.

He continued: “We are already bound by EU state aid rules to a significant extent, in terms of what we have already signed up to.

“In that sense, no, we cannot be entirely free of EU state aid rules because we have signed up to something that binds us to them.”

Mr Menon went into details of how checks will have to be enforced at some borders.

He said: “Equally, it is simply not the case that there will not be checks on goods going from GB to Northern Ireland.

“If you remember that is something that Boris Johnson said would not happen during his election campaign.

“This is because the nature of the deal, that looks likely to be signed, means that those checks are going to be inevitable.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has warned that reaching a deadline is looking unlikely as talks struggle.

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However, the UK’s negotiator David Frost has repeatedly insisted that he believes a deal is still possible.

In a statement, Mr Frost said: “The EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy, but also that this must be agreed before any further substantive work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts.

“This makes it unnecessarily difficult to make progress.”

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