UK hopes to calm US nerves over EU Brexit deal

Author
Newstalk ZB / AP,
Publish Date
Wed, 16 Sep 2020, 7:36PM
Dominic Raab. (Photo / Getty)

UK hopes to calm US nerves over EU Brexit deal

Author
Newstalk ZB / AP,
Publish Date
Wed, 16 Sep 2020, 7:36PM

The UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has had to head to the United States of America, over concerns over plans to unilaterally rewrite Britain’s divorce deal with the European Union. 

The bill easily cleared its first House of Commons vote by 340 to 263 on Monday. It will now face attempts to amend or overturn it during several days of detailed scrutiny by lawmakers before another vote.

However, the deal has sparked international concern over concerns that it might break the Irish peace process.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, warned that Britain will be unable to secure a trade deal with the US if it does anything to undermine the treaty that brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violence.

UK said it would legislate to override parts of the divorce deal with the European Union in the event that a trade agreement isn't reached. The UK government claims that its Internal Market Bill is designed to ensure that trade between the four nations of the United Kingdom would remain unfettered in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The UK concedes that it would breach the EU withdrawal agreement; a British Cabinet minister said this week that the legislation would "break international law in a very specific and limited way."

That did not go down well among top Democrats in the US, who fear it could undermine the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian conflict.

"If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress," Pelosi said in a statement on Wednesday.

UK government ministers insist that the legislation would protect, not undermine, the Good Friday accord. The EU vehemently disagreed on Thursday. "The EU does not accept the argument that the aim of the draft Bill is to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement. In fact, it is of the view that it does the opposite," the European Commission said in a statement. It gave the UK until the end of the month to withdraw the disputed parts of the bill.