Dominic Cummings says government never intended to stick to Brexit deal it signed and would ‘ditch bits we didn’t like’ after ‘whacking Corbyn’
- Dominic Cummings claims he planned to ‘ditch bits we didn’t like’ in Brexit deal
- The PM’s former aide ‘prioritised whacking Corbyn’ before making the changes
- Believed to be reference to ignoring Northern Ireland Protocol that caused chaotic border checks in the Irish Sea
- Britain has been at stalemate over protocol’s conflict with Internal Market Bill
- Comes as Brussels plans to offer Britain a new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland
Instead, the Prime Minister’s former advisor has claimed he planned to ‘ditch bits we didn’t like’ from the agreement after winning the 2019 general election.
In a series of tweets last night, Mr Cummings said that the UK should ‘of course’ be allowed to ‘sometimes’ break deals ‘like every other state does’.
The protocol has caused havoc with border checks across the Irish Sea, and led to fears Northern Ireland could now be treated differently to the rest of the UK.
Dominic Cummings has suggested it was not the government’s intention to stick to its own Brexit deal
But after the government played hardball by extending a grace period on the border checks last month, the EU now appears to be ready to offer a new Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.
Since striking the final agreement on Christmas Eve last year, Britain has been accused of refusing to follow the agreement and is already pushing for reforms.
Speaking of the pressure he felt to strike the Brexit deal, Mr Cummings wrote: ‘We took over a party on ~10%, worst constitutional crisis in century, much of deep state angling for BINO or 2REF.
‘So we wriggled thro(ugh) with best option we c(oul)d & intended to get the (trolley emoji – a reference to Boris Johnson) to ditch bits we didn’t like after whacking Corbyn. We prioritised.’
The former Downing Street chief then added ‘Now time for IM2 #Frosty,’ a reference to the Internal Markets Bill which works to prevent internal trade barriers coming into force between parts of the UK.
It comes as the European Commission plans to propose a resolution to the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which clashes with the Internal Markets Bill.
The Telegraph reports the EU will offer to remove up to 50% of customs checks on British goods entering Northern Ireland and that more than half the checks on meat and plants entering Northern Ireland would be ditched.
An EU official told the Telegraph: ‘Brussels is going to allow more goods to pass into Northern Ireland without checks in return for having more data to do proper market surveillance.
‘The number of checks will go down massively. This is the best way to cut checks, short of a Swiss-style alignment agreement.’
European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic has also pledged to offer more of a voice for politicians and civic society in Northern Ireland on how the contentious trading arrangements operate.
While the measures may potentially go some way to reducing everyday friction on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, they are unlikely to satisfy a UK Government demand over the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
On Tuesday, UK Brexit negotiator Lord Frost made clear the removal of the ECJ’s oversight function in relation to the protocol was a red line for the Government.
Under the terms of the deal struck by the UK and EU in 2019, the ECJ would be the final arbitrator in any future trade dispute between the two parties on the operation of the protocol.
The UK now wants to remove that provision and replace it with an independent arbitration process.
Mr Sefcovic has insisted that the EU will not move on the ECJ issue.
He has pointed out that Northern Ireland would be unable to retain single market access – a key provision of the protocol – if the arrangement was not subject to oversight by European judges.
It is anticipated that the EU proposals, along with a wish list of reforms outlined by the Government in July, will form the basis of a new round of negotiations between Brussels and London in the weeks ahead.
The protocol was agreed by the UK and EU as a way to sidestep the major obstacle in the Brexit divorce talks – the Irish land border.
It achieved that by shifting regulatory and customs checks and processes to the Irish Sea.
The arrangements have created new economic barriers on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
This has caused disruption to many businesses in Northern Ireland and also created a major political headache for the Government, as unionists are furious at what they perceive as a weakening of the Union.
However, other businesses have benefited from the terms of the protocol, which provides Northern Ireland traders unique unfettered access to sell within the UK internal market and EU single market.