Michael Gove stands firm on new Brexit bill after furious EU vow to TORPEDO deal unless Britain ditches it


MICHAEL Gove tonight vowed to stand firm against Brussels threats to torpedo Brexit talks – and insisted Britain wouldn’t pull a bill to take back control of our markets if there’s a No Deal.

In a furious slanging match this afternoon the EU Commission insisted the PM must pull our new British laws on trade or they are walking away from talks and will SUE us too.

Discussions are now creeping towards a No Deal after top EU bosses lashed out at the PM over a new law which would overrule the original agreement hashed out last year.

Mr Gove and top eurocrat Maros Sefcovic, who both sit on the EU-UK joint committee tasked with implementing the deal, chaired a meeting earlier – but both are sticking to their guns.

Mr Sefcovic was furious over the draft legislation, published yesterday, which vowed to override “any other legislation, convention or rule of international or domestic law whatsoever, including any order, judgement or decision of the Europe Court or of any other court or tribunal”.

The new bill carves out parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol for evaluation, and hands ministers the power to determine rules on state aid and goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain instead of leaving EU technocrats with the reigns.

But No10 say it’s only tying up loose ends if a deal can’t be reached by the end of the year.

Mr Gove said this evening after tense discussions that the UK “could not and would not” back down.

In a frank statement he added: “I made it perfectly clear to Maros Sefcovic that we would not be withdrawing this legislation”.

And he said it was vitally important in reaching an agreement which protected Northern Ireland and the the UK’s markets.

The pound plummeted on today’s news.

The furious EU Commission today accused the UK of a “serious violation of the Withdrawal Agreement and of international law”.

“Violating the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement would break international law, undermine trust and put at risk the ongoing future relationship negotiations.”

The bloc have called on the government to remove the bits from the law “by the end of the month” or talks on a deal will be over.

“By putting forward this Bill, the UK has seriously damaged trust between the EU and the UK,” the Commission added.

“It is now up to the UK government to re-establish that trust.”

Ministers say it will protect the Good Friday Agreement, but the EU disagrees.

Chief negotiators for the UK and the EU David Frost and Michel Barnier will met in London today for more talks.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted this week the plans “break international law in a very specific and limited way”.

Mr Sefcovic said: “I made it very clear to him that the Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation. 

“We expect that the letter and the spirit of it will be fully respected. On that we have to be very clear.” 

He added No 10 was “fully aware what the lack of respect for the signed and ratified treaties might mean for the future”. 

“This is a matter of principle. Of course it has direct implications on the talks about our future relationship.”  

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his British counterpart Dominic Raab that a breach by Britain of the withdrawal agreement reached with European Union would be “unacceptable”, his spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Le Drian spoke to Raab on the sidelines of an E3 meeting in London to discuss Iran on Thursday.

Boris Johnson has given EU bosses until October 15 to come up with a deal in time for the European Council meeting.

But he said the UK would “prosper mightily” even if there was no agreement.

One senior European source told The Times they believed the PM was “laughing” at them and had a no-deal plan in place where the UK would trade with the bloc on World Trade Organisation rules.

They said: “The constant references to the WTO is a signal ‘You can go to hell’. My gut feeling is that the British government has opted for no-deal.”

Senior EU diplomats and officials held internal discussions over whether to ditch talks altogether, as chief negotiator Michel Barnier and David Frost, Britain’s negotiator, met in London yesterday.

She said she was “very concerned about announcements from the British government on its intentions to breach the Withdrawal Agreement” and cast doubt over whether there could be a future relationship with the UK.

Ms von der Leyen added: “This would break international law and undermines trust.

“(The principle that agreements must be kept) equals the foundation of prosperous future relations.” 


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