Amid the rising scrutiny over the Government’s handling of the crisis, Mr Barnier indicated to EU diplomats Mr Johnson was using the Internal Markets Bill to shift the focus away from the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Barnier met with officials from eight Eastern Europe countries on Monday night. The EU negotiator also told diplomats in the meeting, he believed the UK is ready for a no deal scenario. According to Politico, he also claimed a deal could still be possible. This comes as Mr Johnson is set to reach a compromise over his Brexit plans. The Prime Minister met with Tory rebels to discuss a way to proceed before the first vote on the UK Internal Market Bill on Monday.
Although the bill has come under increased scrutiny, the legislation was passed 340 to 263 in its first reading in the Commons.
The legislation is designed to enable the trade of goods between the devolved nations.
It also provides the Government with the ability to change parts of the withdrawal agreement which the Prime Minister agreed in October.
The legislation has also caused shockwaves in the US, with Washington warning any future deal may now be at risk.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has previously stated any risk to the peace process in Northern Ireland would hinder the chances of a US-UK trade deal.
Four Congressman wrote: “Many in the United States and in Congress consider the issues of the Good Friday Agreement and a potential US-UK Free Trade Agreement inextricably linked.
“With the issues raised in this letter in mind, we therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland and future options for the bilateral relationship between our two countries.”
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7.25am update: Michel Barnier launches attack on the UK
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier has claimed the uproar over Brexit is merely a tactic to shift the focus away from the Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Politico, the EU negotiator told diplomats from eight Eastern European countries the Internal Market Bill, has been used as a provocation.
He did also claim the ploy could also be an indication the UK is ready to push forward with a no deal Brexit.