Boris Johnson says plan to tear up part of Brexit deal could be law by end of year
MPs are set to vote on controversial new legislation later today
Boris Johnson has indicated how his plan to effectively disregard elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol could be law by the end of the year.
The Prime Minister, who is currently attending the G7 summit in Germany alongside EU leaders, said "the interesting thing is how little this conversation is being had, certainly here” – indicating he is not expecting a major diplomatic row over the Government’s plans.
MPs will vote later today, deciding on new controversial legislation to give minister powers to override parts of the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.
Mr Johnson said the legislation could be enacted "fairly rapidly".
Members of the Conservative Party have argued how the measures to remove checks on goods, animals and plant products travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are necessary to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement and peace and stability.
Mr Johnson said: "What we are trying to do is fix something that I think is very important to our country, which is the balance of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.
“You have got one tradition, one community, that feels that things really aren’t working in a way that they like or understand, you’ve got unnecessary barriers to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“All we are saying is you can get rid of those whilst not in any way endangering the EU single market.”
When probed on whether measures could be implemented this year, the Prime Minister replied: "Yes, I think we could do it very fast, Parliament willing."
A spokesperson for Number 10 announced earlier today that the Government had never put a "hard target date" on when it would hope to see the bill implemented.
“We have never put a hard target date on it, but we want to pass it as quickly as possible to address the many issues we know the protocol is causing to people on the ground,” the spokesperson said.
Opposition to the legislation by the Unionists has seen the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) refuse to return the power-sharing Executive, leaving the region without a functioning government.
The UK has emphasised how its unilateral approach is the only remaining option to resolve the issues "baked in" to the Protocol if the EU maintains its refusal to rewrite the terms of the deal.
The Prime Minister said his plans would be "even better" if we could "get some of the flexibility we need in our conversations with Maros Sefcovic", the European Commission Vice-President.
Despite Mr Johnson's optimistic stance, the move has sparked fierce backlash from the bloc, with legal action being launched against Britain last week.
Mr Sefcovic warned how further measures could follow suit, if the UK continue to pursue the Bill.
The dispute could lead to a trade war, with tariffs or even the suspension of the entire Brexit deal between the UK and EU.
As the Bill returns to Parliament for its second reading later today, MPs will debate its main principles and decide whether it can proceed for further consideration.