8 December 2020 | UK NEWS
The UK has reached an agreement with the EU on how the Irish border will function post-Brexit.
The “agreement in principle” will crucially nullify the controversial aspects contained in the Internal Markets Bill, such that the Government will now remove those clauses.
The details of the agreement have not yet been disclosed, but Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has announced that it will cover issues including border control posts and medicinal supplies. The deal will be applied separately to any trade deal that may or may not materialise in the coming days.
The agreement was completed today in Brussels, following meetings between Michael Gove and EU commissioner Maroš Šefčovič.
After the meeting’s conclusion, Michael Gove said:
“An agreement in principle has been found in the following areas, amongst others: Border Control Posts/Entry Points, specifically for checks on animals, plants and derived products, export declarations, the supply of medicines, the supply of chilled meats, and other food products to supermarkets, and a clarification on the application of State Aid under the terms of the Protocol.
“In view of these mutually agreed solutions, the UK will withdraw clauses 44, 45 and 47 of the UK Internal Market Bill, and not introduce any similar provisions in the Taxation Bill.”
Gove also thanked the EU’s negotiation team for their “constructive and pragmatic approach”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also head to Brussels after Prime Minister’s Questions tomorrow, in a bid to nail down a trade deal. He said: “I’m always hopeful, but I’ve got to be honest with you, the situation at the moment is very tricky.”
He added: “You’ve got to be optimistic. You’ve got to believe there’s the power of sweet reason.”
“We will see where we get to in the course of the next two days, but I think the UK Government’s position is that we are willing to engage at any level, political or otherwise – we are willing to try anything.
“But there are just limits beyond which no sensible, independent government or country could go and people have got to understand that.”