Thursday, 3 Dec 2020

‘No US-UK deal, PERIOD’ Biden ally shatters hopes of new trade alliance in warning to PM

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Speaking to Channel 4 News, the Democrat sent a stern warning to the Prime Minister as he resolutely said a trade deal between the UK and the US will not happen unless Boris Johnson abandons his latest Brexit bill. The Internal Market Bill, aimed at overriding parts of the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU, puts the Belfast Agreement in jeopardy, according to some MPs and the US President-elect Joe Biden. 

Mr Boyle said: “This is a clear red line for us, for President-elect Biden and Speaker Pelosi, to me and many of my colleagues including on both sides of the aisle.

“It the UK moves forwards with this Internal Market Bill and decides to whip up the withdrawal agreement they negotiated and signed less than a year ago, then there will be no US-UK trade deal.

“Period.”

Mr Biden warned during his successful campaign against Donald Trump that a trade deal with the US was “contingent” on the prevention of a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Mr Johnson has insisted that the Bill is designed to “protect and uphold the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland”.

Mr Biden, who is proud of his Irish heritage, has warned the agreement cannot “become a casualty of Brexit”.

It comes as peers moved to strip controversial clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill that would enable ministers to break international laws.

The Lords voted 433 to 165, majority 268, to reject law-breaking powers after fierce criticism by Tory former leader Michael Howard and Tory ex-chancellor Ken Clarke.

The Government immediately responded by insisting it would not back down.

A Government spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the House of Lords has voted to remove clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill, which was backed in the House of Commons by 340 votes to 256 and delivers on a clear Conservative manifesto commitment.

“We will re-table these clauses when the Bill returns to the Commons.

“We’ve been consistently clear that the clauses represent a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market and the huge gains of the peace process.

“We expect the House of Lords to recognise that we have an obligation to the people of Northern Ireland to make sure they continue to have unfettered access to the UK under all circumstances.”

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Peers went on to inflict a further defeat on the Government by 407 votes to 148, majority 259, stripping out a further contentious clause relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

All other controversial provisions were removed without votes.

Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Angela Smith said: “I am sure some in government will initially react with bravado and try to dismiss tonight’s historic votes in the Lords. To do so, however, would underestimate the genuine and serious concerns across the UK and beyond about ministers putting themselves above and beyond the rule of law.

“The Government should see sense, accept the removal of these offending clauses, and start to rebuild our international reputation.”

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