Brexit LIVE: Britain rushes as UK ‘outclasses’ EU | Politics | New

Former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell has said Britain risks a trade war with the EU if it “brazenly breaks a solemn international treaty” via the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

Mr Mitchell has expressed concern that the UK will ‘destroy’ its international reputation by approving legislation designed to deal with issues relating to trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss sought to play down her fears, arguing that the bill had a “strong legal justification” and that the UK remains committed to seeking a negotiated solution.

Ms Truss said the UK continued to raise issues of concern with the EU.

She told the Commons: “We simply cannot let this get out of hand. Northern Ireland has been without devolved government since February specifically because of the protocol, at a time of great global economic challenges.

“Therefore, it is the duty of this government to act now to allow a restored local government plan to begin. It is both legal and necessary.”

Mr Mitchell, speaking, said he had ‘tremendous sympathy’ with what Ms Truss was saying.

He added: “It seems to me that the EU is not particularly constructive in trying to achieve the solution that we all want to see achieved.

“But can I tell him that many of us are extremely concerned that the bill brazenly breaks a solemn international treaty, that it undermines our international reputation, that it threatens a trade war at a when our economy is stagnant and it puts us at odds with our most important ally.

“Can she say something to reassure me in my anguish on these points?

Ms Truss replied: “Our preference is for a negotiated solution and we have been looking for a negotiated solution for 18 months, but just last weekend the EU refused to change the text of the protocol.

“That is why there is a strong legal justification, as set out in our legal declaration, for us to take this step because our priority as the government of the UK must be political stability in our own country.

“And while we bring this bill to parliament, we will continue to seek a negotiated solution with the EU – and in fact the bill contains provisions to implement it.”

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