‘Absolutely outrageous!’ EU’s McGuinness slams UK as bloc ‘quite appalled’ at Brexit Bill

Brexit: EU member states ‘appalled’ says McGuinness

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EU Commissioner for Finance Services Mairead McGuinness reacted to Northern Ireland Minister Conor Burn’s description of the new Brexit legislation as a “tidying-up exercise” and stressed the description is “absolutely outrageous!”. She revealed European Union member states are “quite appalled” by the UK Government’s move and warned the bloc “will have to respond appropriately”.

Ms McGuinness told BBC Newsnight: “To describe this bill as ‘a tidying up exercise’ is absolutely outrageous!

“If you look at what the majority of the newly-elected MLAs have written to the Prime Minister today.

“They reject in the strongest possible terms that your Government’s reckless new protocol legislation.

“Ans the details in this letter stress the need for negotiations around problems with implementing the protocol, but jot ripping the protocol up.

“When I look at Sir Jonathan Jones’s comment, he describes it as ‘quite extraordinary bill’ where you can turn off or neutralise great chunks of the protocol.

“And really, this is a very alarming situation.

“We are trying to assess fully the implications as many others are.

“Members states are quite appalled by what has happened today.

“We will have to respond appropriately.”

She added: “The reason we’re discussing this is that we know that Northern Ireland is unique.

“Because there was a hard Brexit, which is what Boris Johnson sought to achieve and didn’t think about the consequences for Northern Ireland.

“We had to urge the UK to look at solutions and indeed we found one, which is now being torn up.

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“We should not imperil the peace process.

“I think we need to clear up a lot of confusion and look at the issues.

“We know what the problems are in terms of implementation, and we can discuss those and resolve them around the table.

“But passing legislation and even proposing legislation to this extent is really something that needs to be stopped immediately, even if it will take a long time.

“It is not acceptable to do this and it’s now how we should do business”.

Speaking on BBC, Mr Burns said: “I would call [the Brexit Bill] a tidying up exercise.

“We are essentially legislating to implement the proposals that we have put to the European Commission, which we believe will work in terms of protecting their single market which is rightly and properly important to them, but at the same time which the protocol also recognises Northern Ireland’s integral place within the United Kingdom’s internal market”.

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