Politics

This is your Remaniac make-believe!’ Peston has Braverman erupt over EU protocol defence

Northern Ireland: Attorney General calls Peston 'remainiac'

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Ms Braverman, the attorney general for the United Kingdom, accused the ITV host of thinking the “EU is always in the right and the UK is always in the wrong” in a fiery interview last night. The pair appeared at odds with each other before Ms Braverman went into great detail explaining the “severe problems” facing Northern Ireland over the protocol and the trade barrier on the Irish border erected as part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement. 

Mr Peston said: “Theresa May, for example, told the Prime Minister that if he signed this Northern Ireland protocol, we would end up in just this crisis. So, you can’t invoke the principle of necessity. You’ve plainly broken the law.” 

Ms Braverman said: “That’s just not right, Robert. And I’m afraid I’ve got to say this is your Remaniac make-believe, if I may put it that way, and that actually, the EU is always in the right and the UK is always in the wrong!

Mr Peston responded: “No, I don’t think that at all. There’s lot that the EU does that is constantly wrong and I’m definitely not a Remaniac.” 

Ms Braverman said: “The reality is there is strain, there are severe problems ongoing within communities in Northern Ireland. 

“The Northern Irish economy is lagging behind the rest of the United Kingdom. Traders have simply stopped trading across the Irish Sea. 

“The Belfast Good Friday Agreement is under threat. Political institutions have stopped functioning. These are essential interests of the United Kingdom. 

“And we consider that, in those instances, where no other option exists and we have tried other options, and we do have a legal basis of necessity, we must depart from some of the international obligations contained in the treaty. 

“That is a document that is recognised by the international court of justice, that is reflected in the international law commission’s reports on state responsibilities, and it’s been invoked by several states in similar disputes around the world.”

The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill was tabled on Monday this week setting out the decision to renege on former free trade agreements with the European Union. 

The UK Government has claimed there is a legal basis of necessity in upholding the Good Friday agreement to justify the unilateral move. 

But the Bill has been met with opposition from the EU, with several frozen cases against the UK over the protocol reopened as a result, as well as a number of new cases. 

Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s Brexit commissioner, said of the plans: “Let’s call a spade a spade: this is illegal. 

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He said: “Not respecting the European court of justice rulings will be just piling one breach of international law on another.

“This way forward, is it compatible with the proud British traditions of upholding and respecting the rule of law and international law in that regard? 

“So that’s, I would say, the political question I’m throwing up and, of course, how other potential partners would look at the UK when they are negotiating agreements.

“Will they be changed in one year, in two years? Will they really stick? Will they be respected?”

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