Attorney General says ECJ should have no say on UK disputes over hated Brexit deal

Brexit: Suella Braverman outlines solution to end backstop issue

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Suella Braverman, who replaced Geoffrey Cox as Attorney General in February 2020, appeared on Sky News to discuss advice she had given to the UK Government over the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Brexit-backing Fareham MP had previously said action in Ulster was “painfully necessary” as she said the UK could scrap parts of the Protocol last week. Ms Braverman, who was first elected to the House of Commons in 2015, told Sophy Ridge: “I am not going to be able to go into the details behind the legality; what I am able to say is that the measures announced are important, vital and have my support.”

Addressing the issues at hand, Ms Braverman added: “The effects of those problems are visible for everyone to see.

“We have seen the collapse of Stormont so that people in Northern Ireland are not going to be getting the services that they deserve because of a paralysis in their Government.

“We’ve seen more burdens and costs imposed on traders based in Northern Ireland because of excessive bureaucracy affected by the EU’s application of the rules in the Protocol, so there are problems and we want to get Stormont back up and running, we want to ensure Northern Ireland placed within the territory of the United Kingdom is secured and reassured and that’s why these proposals are very important.”

The former chair of the European Research Group, who worked at the Bar for a decade, also revealed she would not publish the legal advice given to the UK Government as Ms Braverman stressed that such advice is “privileged and confidential”.

However, when pushed by Ms Ridge about what “red lines” were in place, Ms Braverman took aim at the European Court of Justice.

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She said: “The European Court of Justice should not be the final arbiter of disputes between the UK and the EU and the Bill that we have considered introducing will reflect that.”

Braverman added: “I very much hope the EU will respond creatively, positively, constructively.

“The ideal outcome for all of us is that we get a renegotiated settlement that works for the United Kingdom and, in particular, works for the communities in Northern Ireland and upholds the primacy of the Good Friday Agreement, the foundation, but also respects the boundaries of the European Union’s single market which the UK really does pay a lot of respect to.”

Ms Braverman’s intervention comes after the Democratic Unionist Party refused to take up its seats in Ulster’s Executive.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s party, which lost its crown as the largest in Northern Ireland in the Stormont election on May 5, believes the checks on goods from the UK effectively places a border in the Irish Sea and undermines Northern Ireland’s place within the union.

However, the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss unveiled fresh plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to make changes to the Protocol.

She told Parliament on Tuesday: “Our preference remains a negotiated solution with the EU.

“In parallel with the legislation being introduced, we remain open to further talks if we can achieve the same outcome through negotiated settlement.

“I have invited Vice-President Sefcovic to a meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee in London to discuss this as soon as possible.

“However, to respond to the very grave and serious situation in Northern Ireland we are clear that there is a necessity to act to ensure the institutions can be restored as soon as possible.

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“The Government is clear that proceeding with the Bill is consistent with our obligations in international law – and in support of our prior obligations in the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.”

But the European Commission’s Vice-President Maros Sefcovic appeared to slap down the move.

He said in a statement: “Should the UK decide to move ahead with a bill disapplying constitutive elements of the Protocol as announced today by the UK government, the EU will need to respond with all measures at its disposal.

“Our overarching objective is to find joint solutions within the framework of the Protocol.

“That is the way to ensure legal certainty and predictability for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.”

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