PM Johnson’s Brexit team seeks to evade Irish Sea checks on goods – Sunday Times

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London, Britain February 12, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

(Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit team has been ordered to come up with plans to “get around” the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit withdrawal agreement, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.

Officials in Taskforce Europe, which is run by David Frost, the prime minister’s European Union negotiator, are seeking to evade Irish Sea checks on goods passing from Britain to Northern Ireland, according to the newspaper.

The officials believe that Suella Braverman, the new attorney-general, may need to give fresh legal advice to the justify the move, the newspaper said. Sources told the Sunday Times that Braverman was appointed because her predecessor Geoffrey Cox was not willing to take such action.

Johnson’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday to sign off on the proposals, which will then be presented in parliament and published online on Thursday, the report added.

France on Wednesday said it was imperative that negotiations over a future trade relationship between Britain and the EU included customs checks in the Irish Sea.

Johnson struck a divorce deal with the EU last October that leaves the United Kingdom’s province of Northern Ireland inside the UK customs area but all EU procedures will apply to goods arriving there.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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