Boris Johnson personally assured Northern Ireland MP Ian Paisley that he would commit to “breaking” the Brexit protocol that is now at the center of a major dispute between the UK and the EU, it has been claimed.
The congressman from the Democratic Unionist party made the comments on the BBC’s Newsnight just hours after former prime minister aide Dominic Cummings claimed that it was always the intention to sign the withdrawal agreement in January 2020, but to “get rid” of the protocol they didn’t like.
“Boris Johnson told me personally that after accepting the protocol, he would sign to change that protocol and actually break it, that this was just for semantics,” Paisley said.
Referring to Cummings’ claims that they needed to go to the country with faulty treatment to help “hit [Jeremy] Corbyn “in the 2019 election, Paisley added:” That comment has been verified by another source much closer to Boris Johnson within his own government. “
“So the fact of the matter is, I think, the government really didn’t want this to happen to Northern Ireland and they took a short-term gamble.”
Shadow secretary for international trade, Emily Thornberry, said it was “shameful” that the UK started playing “fast and loose” with other countries when it came to international law.
“I think we resign as a country, we do not have the same international reputation, if our word is not our bond,” he told Sky News.
“I think it is shocking that people even think of representing our country as a signatory to an agreement knowing that they are not going to implement it; I think it’s awful, ”he added.
Newsnight reported that the alleged trade between Johnson and Paisley was said to have occurred before a key vote on Brexit on October 22, 2019.
At the time, Downing Street felt that democracy in the country was being subverted by a proposed law to stop a no-deal Brexit. That law, dubbed “the act of surrender” by the Brexiters, was recently quoted by Brexit Minister Lord Frost in a speech to the Conservative party conference.
“Of course we wanted to negotiate something better. If it weren’t for the insanity of the act of surrender, we could have done it. We cared from the beginning, the protocol could not withstand the strain, “said Frost, although at no point did he say that the government entered the deal with the intention of renegotiating it shortly thereafter.
The dispute over whether or not the government acted in good faith when adhering to the protocol has caused “alarm” in Dublin, but comes on the eve of a potential advance on the protocol.
On Wednesday, the EU unveiled proposals to remove more than 80% of controls on goods and food, something that Paisley said looked like a “significant” decline, but it did not go far enough, as it also did not offer to remove the role of the European Court of Justice.
A possible compromise that is emerging in the ECJ is to adopt the same dispute mechanism as in the EU-Switzerland treaty.
Anton Spisak, a trade expert at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, said: “Under the Swiss treaty, the independent arbitration panel resolves all disputes as the default arbitrator. But when questions are asked about EU rules, the ECJ has to offer its opinion. The independent panel is the one that makes the final decision, but it must take into account the opinions of the ECJ ”, he said.
Spisak believes this would be a “credible landing zone” and would make the protocol look more like a “standard international treaty.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism