Brexit outrage: Boris savaged over ’empty sabre rattling’ as EU poised to ‘break’ UK

Liz Truss grilled over ‘timescale’ of Protocol

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Brexiteers have warned a lot could be at stake as Northern Ireland Protocol negotiations continue to stall. Critics claim that unless the post-Brexit deal is either radically amended or thrown out all together, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland could cease to exist.

Brussels, too, has issued its own threats, signalling the launching of a trade war and the pursuit of legal action against the UK if the Protocol is ripped up.

Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib believes that, despite the significance of what is at stake in ongoing talks, the Government is doing “two halves of nothing”.

The EU, he said, has threatened a trade war before, when Whitehall last year suggested it might trigger Article 16, and was “bound” to “bully” the UK in this way again.

The Government, under such an understanding, should have been prepared to act decisively rather than simply issue verbal threats.

Instead, Mr Habib believes we have seen a Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary not serious about tearing up the Protocol and simply engaging in a war of words.

The Brexit Watch Chairman told Express.co.uk: “Had we been serious about invoking Article 16 or tearing up parts of the Protocol, we would, by now, have well publicised plans for a trade war. We would be putting the UK on a war footing.

“The Government would have identified vulnerable sectors which would need support. It would have identified regulations and taxes which would need to be cut to support the economy through such a battle.

“It has done nothing.”

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Liz Truss, who is leading negotiations for the UK, this week addressed the House of Commons on the Government’s intentions in ongoing talks.

She highlighted that the “practical problems [of the Protocol] are clear to see”, but rather than put forward a set plan to resolve these issues, the Foreign Secretary instead announced her “intention” to introduce legislation “in the coming weeks”.

Ms Truss added that the Government’s “preference” remained the establishment of a “negotiated solution” with the EU, towards which “we will continue” to work.

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This comes after six months of negotiations involving the Foreign Secretary and a much longer period with former Brexit Minister Lord Frost.

Mr Habib said: “From our Government’s lack of preparations we can only infer one conclusion. It was never serious about invoking Article 16 and it is not serious now about tearing up the Protocol.

“Our own Government’s declarations are nothing more than empty rhetorical sabre rattling.”

Failing to act, he added, did not just risk minor changes in our trading relationship with Brussels but “the very fabric of our country”.

The businessman stressed in a stark message that “our Government would rather give up Northern Ireland than stand up to the EU”, noting that it would be futile to expect any “definite action” over the Protocol, despite Ms Truss’s declarations.

Express.co.uk approached the Government for comment.

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