Environment Secretary George Eustice refused to back down to EU demands in an incredible on-air moment. This morning, Simon Coveney said the EU will not do a trade deal if the UK tries to restore the law-breaking Internal Market Bill clauses. When confronted, Mr Eustice rejected this EU ultimatum, insisting the Government would re-impose those measures.
Mr Eustice responded: “We will be putting those measures back. They are very important.”
Sky News host Sophy Ridge responded: “Simon Coveney just told me that there is an absolutely unanimous view that if the UK decides to break international law, why would the EU agree to a deal?
“You said you will try to re-instate those parts of the Internal Market Bill, so should we assume there is no deal?”
Mr Eustice downplayed this as an EU bluff, saying that the controversial parts of the Bill “won’t be necessary” if there is a deal done.
Environment Secretary George Eustice refused to back down to EU demands
Simon Coveney said the EU will not do a trade deal if the UK tries to restore the law-breaking Internal Market Bill clauses
In his earlier interview, Mr Coveney told Ms Ridge “there is no way the EU will ratfiy the agreement” if the UK re-imposes the measures.
He said: “If the British government is determined to continue with their Internal Market Bill, to reintroduce parts of that Bill that were removed by the House of Lords this week, then I think this is a deal that won’t be ratified by the EU.
“There’s no way the EU would agree to ratify a new agreement if the British government is breaking the existing agreement which is not even 12 months old.”
Ridge tweeted video of Mr Coveney making the ultimatum, adding: “And immediately afterwards George Eustice tells me this is what the Government intends to do…”
Eustice told Ms Ridge he agreed with Mr Coveney that this week is crucial if a Brexit deal is to be agreed in time
The clauses in the bill were removed by the House of Lords earlier this week.
Peers voted overwhelmingly by 433 to 165 to remove clauses from the Bill that would give ministers the right to unilaterally change parts of the Northern Ireland protocol.
Mr Eustice told Ms Ridge he agreed with Mr Coveney that this week is crucial if a Brexit deal is to be agreed in time.
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Downing Street denies the departures mean a Brexit deal, and compromise with the EU, are now more likely
He explained: “This needs to be a week when things move, we break through these issues and get a resolution. Otherwise we run out of time to implement it.”
Talks between the UK and the EU broke off after a week of intense negotiations in London.
However, these talks were overshadowed by turmoil in Downing Street, in which senior aides to British prime minister Boris Johnson resigned.
Downing Street denies the departures mean a Brexit deal, and compromise with the EU, are now more likely.