Europe to take legal action against UK over 'Brexit breaches'

Europe is to take legal action against Britain over alleged breaches of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The European Commission has started infringement procedures with Boris Johnson’s government over the controversial UK Internal Market Bill, president Ursula von der Leyen said.

She said: “We had invited our British friends to remove the problematic parts of their draft Internal Market Bill by the end of September.

“This draft bill is, by its very nature, a breach of the obligation of good faith laid down in the Withdrawal Agreement.

“Moreover, if adopted as is it will be in full contradiction of the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

“The deadline lapsed yesterday, the problematic provisions have not been removed.

“Therefore this morning the commission have decided to send a letter of formal notice to the UK Government. This is the first step in an infringement procedure.”

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Ms Ursula von der Leyen said the letter gave Boris Johnson’s government a month to send its response.

“The commission will continue to work hard towards a full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement,” she said.

“We stand by our commitments.”

EC president Ursual von der Leyen. Credit: AP

A UK Government spokesman said: “We will respond to the letter in due course.

“We have clearly set out our reasons for introducing the measures related to the Northern Ireland protocol.

“We need to create a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market, ensure ministers can always deliver on their obligations to Northern Ireland and protect the gains from the peace process.”