Brexit: Femi Oluwole clashes with Ben Habib on NI Protocol
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Although signed last year, the EU only provisionally applied the Trade and Cooperation Agreement in order to avoid a hard Brexit. MEPs are expected to ratify the agreement later this month but EU officials have previously delayed on a vote, accusing the UK of violating the terms of the deal. If MEPs request a further extension, Express.co.uk is asking in today’s exclusive online poll: “Should Boris pull plug on EU deal if bloc delay ratification again?”
After being granted an extension on the vote from the UK, MEPs pushed back a vote on the deal after accusing the UK of violating the agreement in relation to the grace period for goods moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
It is expected MEPs will hold a vote later this month to ratify the agreement amid a clash in relations between the EU and UK.
Indeed, due to trade issues suffered in Northern Ireland, the UK Government extended the amnesty on customs checks for goods such as parcels and agrifoods, thus sparking concern on the continent.
While the EU is yet to approve the deal, MPs signed off on the agreement in December in order for it to then be applied.
Amid the delay to the ratification of the agreement, Tory MP for Clwyd West and deputy chairman of the European Research Group, David Jones insisted the Government must reject any further request to extend the deal.
Indeed, Mr Jones told Express.co.uk, the UK Government must be prepared to move on without the EU’s ratification.
He said: “Why should they have an extension?
“I mean, I remember coming back to Parliament between Christmas and New Year in order to get the whole process done.
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“They’ve had loads of time. What has happened over the past four months has shown that the EU is not really abiding by the spirit of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
“Why have they not ratified it? They’ve had tonnes of time.
“It’s not exactly as if they’re rushed off their feet.
“They had plenty of time to ratify it. So you know, I would think that the best thing that the government can do is to say, ‘no, you’re not having an extension’.”
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Under the Brexit deal, both the EU and UK have the ability to cancel the trade agreement.
This can be done with 12 months’ notification although there are areas such as fisheries, which have their own termination clauses.
Amid criticism levelled at the level playing field and fisheries provisions, former Brexit Party MEP, Ben Habib had previously called on the Government to cancel the deal.
He said: “I think the Government, and the future Government if this one won’t do it, should get absolutely ready to terminate the trade agreement.
“We need to get out of the level playing field, the fishing arrangements.
“We also need to get out of the contributions to the European defence fund.”
Due to the complexity of the agreement, arbitration panels and committees will be used to oversee the implementation of the deal due to the separate dispute mechanisms.
Ultimately, some areas of the agreement can be revoked if they cannot be sustained adequately.
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