Boris Johnson has been branded a “charlatan” and a “vandal, after it emerged that he is reportedly planning to blow up post-Brexit trade negotiations by ripping up the Withdrawal Agreement.
A bombshell report in the Financial Times said the Prime Minister is planning new legislation that would override key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement – the treaty that sealed Britain’s exit from the EU in January.
Reaction has poured in to the news. Despite ministers denying that the Government was not planning to renege on the deal, Johnson was quickly labelled a “charlatan” by critics.
Here is some of the most important reaction thus far.
Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill tweeted that any threat of backtracking on the protocol would be a “treacherous betrayal which would inflict irreversible harm on the all-Ireland economy and the Good Friday Agreement”.
Ms O’Neill stressed the need for the protocol to be fully implemented as soon as possible and to “avoid any border in Ireland”.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the move would constitute a repudiation by the Government of a treaty “freely negotiated by it” and which was described as “oven ready” by Mr Johnson.
She tweeted this would “significantly increase” the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, and the “resulting damage to the economy will be entirely Tory inflicted. What charlatans”.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the Government would be undermining the Good Friday Agreement, risking the future of the UK and destroying its own credibility on the world stage if it proceeded with one of the most “reckless” acts concerning Ireland by a British government “in a long long time”.
“It’s absolutely astonishing that any government who says they want to go and do trade deals around the world would just rip up an agreement that they made a few months ago with the European Union,” Mr Eastwood told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour.
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said the reported development would be “a very unwise way to proceed”.
The commentariat has had its say, too…
Of course, not everyone was upset…
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