Brexit: Ben Habib claims UK ‘clearly isn’t sovereign’
The Protocol, which was incorporated into the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to help avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, has left Northern Ireland tied to a range of EU customs and regulatory rules. It has caused significant anger among Unionist politicians across Northern Ireland over fears it creates a border down the Irish Sea due to standards checks which are made on certain products arriving from the rest of the UK.
Party MEP Ben along with Jim Allister, leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice party and Baroness Kate Hoey.
In Belfast’s High Court, some of Northern Ireland’s most senior judges heard arguments from the politicians’ lawyers that the Protocol was legally “rotten to the core” and incompatible with domestic and European law.
Judges are due to deliver their verdict next Wednesday in the matter but Mr Habib claimed the battle was not over if the group of politicians lost.
Ahead of the ruling, Mr Habib pledged to take the battle all the way to Britain’s highest court, adding: “I shall be travelling to Belfast to be there in person.
Ben Habib threatened to take his legal challenge to the Supreme Court
Lord Frost is holding talks with EU counterparts over the Protocol
“In all likelihood, this matter will not rest on the basis of the judgement we receive next week.
“No matter the outcome, it is almost certainly going to end up in the Supreme Court.”
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Loyalists protesting against the Protocol last week
Fellow EU member states could leave the bloc at any time after the UK’s departure, Michel Barnier has admitted.
The former EU chief negotiator said that from “day one after the EU membership referendum in 2016, Europeans alike know it could happen again in another country”.
Speaking today, Mr Barnier also shed some light on his five years as the EU’s chief negotiator to the UK which led to the signing of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on Christmas Eve in 2020.
Boris Johnson has been warned the European Union could be willing to discredit its own world standing – just to punish the UK over Brexit – as the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol edges closer to completely boiling over.
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group think tank, told Express.co.uk: “Unfortunately from past experience the EU is likely to use every tool available to them to gain an advantage over Britain, even when it discredits them on the world stage, as we saw with the vaccine rollout.”
Baroness Hoey is also part of the legal challenge
France has pleaded with the UK to delay the introduction of new Brexit rules for French fishermen fishing in Jersey waters.
France, the UK and Jersey have been at loggerheads since January over fishing rights in waters around the British Crown Dependency as well as the wider English Channel.
French fishermen protested about St Helier introducing the new fishing licences after April 30 for their vessels which impose limits on the number of days at sea and create fishing zones.
8:45am update: Ireland listening over Northern Ireland protocol, says Coveney
Ireland is listening to those who have real concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol, and “making the case strongly at an EU level for flexibility and pragmatism”, the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister has said.
Simon Coveney said he hopes that progress will be made in the “sausage war” trade dispute between the UK and the European Union in the next week.
But he added there would also have to be “an adherence to what was agreed”.
8am update: Shop local scheme extended due to Brexit challenges
A scheme aimed at encouraging convenience stores to stock local produce has been given another £190,000 of funding to continue the initiative due to challenges presented by Brexit.
The Scottish Government will award at least 21 grants to shop owners to help increase sales of fresh and locally-sourced food items.
The Go Local programme, funded by the Government and administered by the Scottish Grocers Federation, will help develop retail space in shops as well as the appointment of a dedicated specialist to source produce