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British government to continue waiving NI Protocol rules

The British government has responded to EU legal action over breaking its own Northern Ireland Protocol by announcing further breaches.

The European Commission said it received a letter from the UK in response to its legal action – which had been frozen to allow negotiations.

Thursday 15 September was the deadline for the UK to respond more than half a dozen infringement proceedings launched by the European Commission, one of which dates back to March of last year.

Three infringement procedures were started by the European Commission in June and four the following month, in July after the then Foreign Secretary Liz Truss introduced legislation which to dismantle the protocol.

It is currently due to make its way through the House of Lords, having been passed in the Commons.

Infringement proceedings normally go through different stages before reaching  the European Court of Justice.

On Thursday the UK briefed it is continuing with its own, self-declared unilateral extensions of the grace period of not requiring retailers and exporters to adhere to the agreed checks on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Officially Downing Street said it has no comment.

Britain’s diplomatic mission to the EU formally replied by the end-of-Thursday deadline, reportedly to say it will continue to waive the rules.

Optimists hope that Britain believes delaying the checks will help create the space for a negotiated solution.

But EU member states warn that continuing with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill will flout international law.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who sat beside Prime Minister Liz Truss at a memorial service in Belfast for the Queen earlier this week will be in London on Monday for the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.

He has repeatedly said Ireland believes there is a negotiated solution possible.

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