Brexit fury as UK accused of taking knee to EU over hated deal

Rishi Sunak warned against 'backdoor' moves to undo Brexit

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Brexit fury has exploded after the Conservative Party came under attack after being accused of “taking a knee’ to the European Union over the hated deal between London and Brussels. Britain officially left the EU on January 1, 2021 but a bitter dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol has seen tensions between the two sides erupt. The UK has claimed the arrangements governing post-Brexit trading arrangements for the province aren’t working and under the premierships of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, have threatened to unilaterally override the agreement.

Brussels has reacted furiously to these threats, warning it will retaliate in the strongest form possible, sparking fears of a damaging trade war between the two sides.

Tensions between the two sides are seemingly thawing under the premiership of Rishi Sunak, with suggestions progress is being made towards an agreed solution on the Protocol.

But Ben Habib, the former Brexit Party MEP who is a huge critic of the Protocol, has accused the UK Government of caving to the EU.

He told “We either have the courage to break with the EU and take control of our own country, in which case Brussels is going to be upset.

“Or we comply and we take a knee to the EU and at the moment, our Government is taking a knee to the EU.

“The Tories have this fantastic mandate and even had a majority with which to fully deliver Brexit but they bottled it.”

Mr Habib also took aim against the Tories for not getting Brexit fully over the line, warning the UK is still “joined at the hip to the EU”.

Britain left the bloc nearly two years ago after the two sides signed an 11th-hour Trade and Cooperation deal that should have sealed the UK’s departure.

Just weeks earlier during his general election campaign, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson had prominently used the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’.

But Mr Habib fumed: “We haven’t got Brexit. It’s dangerous to accept or concede that we do have Brexit. We can’t claim we have got Brexit done until the UK has left the European Union as one country.

“Northern Ireland can’t be left behind under the EU laws adjudicated by EU courts with a border down the Irish Sea.

“Brexit meant the UK being able to make its own laws to chart its own independent direction for what is in the interests of British people, then neither have we got Brexit by that measure.

“The Trade and Cooperation Agreement binds us into so many commitments in terms of state aid law, competition law, employment law and even Net Zero. The UK is still joined at the hip by the EU, so clearly we still don’t have Brexit.”

Last month during a visit to Ireland, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hinted at a possible breakthrough in the stalemate over the Protocol.

The EU boss said had “encouraging” engagement with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the issue but warned the consequences of Brexit cannot be completely removed.

However, the European Commission President insisted she is “very confident” a solution on the protocol would be found if the UK Government is willing.

She told the Irish Parliament: “I’m glad that today our talks with London are marked by a new, more pragmatic spirit because the European Union and the United Kingdom are still members of the same extended family, even if we no longer live in the same house.

“I can promise you that whenever the European Union sits down with our British friends, we will do so with ‘an honest heart and an open mind’ – to quote the great Irish band The Saw Doctors.

“By applying common sense and focusing on the issues that really matter in Northern Ireland, I believe we can make progress in resolving the practical issues surrounding the protocol.

“We’re listening closely to the business and civil society stakeholders in Northern Ireland, but the consequences of Brexit and the kind of Brexit chosen by the UK cannot be removed entirely.

“The solutions we find must ensure that the single market continues to function in Ireland and elsewhere in the European Union. I think if both sides are sensitive to this careful balance, a workable solution is within reach. I believe we have a duty to find it.

“My contacts (with) Prime Minister Sunak are encouraging, and I trust we can find the way. Let me reassure you, Ireland can always count on the European Union to stand by the Good Friday Agreement. There can be no hard border on the island of Ireland.”

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