Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

Ireland’s Simon Coveney rages at Boris Brexit plan and warns of ‘big standoff’ in EU talks

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Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill move was attacked by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. While speaking on BBC Newsnight, Mr Coveney insisted the move had damaged the reputation of the UK and not helped Brexit trade deal talks. He insisted it had not just damaged the relationship and reputation between the UK and EU but could have impacted the relationship with the US as well.

Mr Coveney said: “Honestly I don’t know what the EU is going to do in relation to the clauses.

“What we have been trying to do for the last number of weeks is to move away from the distraction of this legislation.

“This legislation has caused such an undermining of trust in the overall negotiations.

“We want to put it aside and instead focus on trying to solve the outstanding issues.

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“If we can solve those issues it can allow us to put the protocol in place and can allow us to put the future relationship in place that includes a trade deal, the elements of part five of the Internal Market Bill will become irrelevant anyway and can be quietly removed.

“What we don’t want is a big standoff between the UK and EU on legislation that has been an unwelcome distraction.”

Newsnight host Emma Barnett argued that the push for the Internal Market Bill may have been a good negotiating tactic.

She added it has forced the EU to see the UK’s perspective and has seen them return to the negotiating table

Mr Coveney dismissed this notion and argued the Internal Market Bill has hindered Brexit talks.

He replied: “Anybody that is suggesting that this has been a successful or good tactic really doesn’t understand the conversations are happening across the EU capitals.

“This is a tactic that has backfired and even backfired in British politics nevermind the relationship with the EU.

“That is why it has been voted down this evening in the House of Lords.

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“What the British Parliament does with this legislation is really a matter for the British Parliament and the UK Government.

“But as a neighbour and a friend, this is a tactic that has really damaged Britain’s reputation.

“It hasn’t just damaged their reputation not just across the European Union but also the Atlantic Ocean as well.”

The House of Lords voted down the Internal Market Bill just after 11pm on Monday as key sections of the legislation that would break international law were voted out.

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