UK Government Steps Up Effort to Sell Brexit Law to Businesses

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- The British government will launch a charm offensive with businesses from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK on Monday in an attempt to win them over to its controversial plan to override part of the Brexit deal.

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The first meeting with the business representatives comes as Parliament debates Boris Johnson’s new law that would give ministers the power to unilaterally rewrite the bulk of the Northern Ireland protocol.

When the bill was released earlier this month it was immediately condemned by legal experts and a number of UK politicians, while the European Union said it was a breach of international law and restarted legal action.

Firms in Northern Ireland also criticized the new plan and the meeting Monday forms part of the government’s attempt to change their mind. The Foreign Office said the event will include “more than a dozen major UK businesses and representative groups including the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, Asda, John Lewis and the Dairy Council NI.”

Read More: Johnson Angers Northern Ireland Businesses He Says He’s Helping

Johnson’s government says the plan is necessary to remove cumbersome bureaucracy on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which is a function of the Brexit deal he agreed to in 2019. Johnson agreed to a de facto customs border in the Irish Sea after Brexit to avoid the need for a hard border on the island of Ireland. That analysis is questioned by legal experts.

“This legislation will fix the problems the Protocol has created, ensuring that goods can flow freely within the UK, while avoiding a hard border and safeguarding the EU Single Market,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will say when presenting the bill to Parliament on Monday, according to remarks released by her office.

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