UK publishes controversial Brexit bill

LONDON: The British government on Wednesday published a controversial bill which overrides elements of the Brexit deal with Brussels, despite a senior minister explicitly acknowledging that the plan would “break international law”.
The UK Internal Markets Bill is intended to ensure Northern Ireland can continue to enjoy unfettered access to markets in the rest of Britain.
The bill was published after Britain brushed aside warnings from the European Union (EU) that breaching the treaty would prevent any trade deal being struck.
London’s move came as the Britain-EU post-Brexit trade talks entered its second day here.
Britain ended its EU membership on Jan. 31 but is still following EU rules during the transition period until Dec. 31 to enable a permanent future trade deal to be reached. During this period, Britain would have to pay into EU funds but have no say in laws imposed by Brussels.
The British chief Brexit negotiator David Frost said Sunday that his government is unafraid to walk away from the ongoing talks with the EU in London if the regional bloc does not compromise on major issues, including fisheries and state aid rules.
The bill gives ministers the power to decide themselves, rather than in agreement with Europe, about checks on goods as well as on state aid between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
It also says that the provisions in the bill “must be introduced notwithstanding any relevant international or domestic law”, meaning that this legislation must be regarded first.
“The government has now published the new legislation which has intensified further anger in Westminster, Brussels and the international community,” said the London-based Evening Standard newspaper.–Agencies