BBC’s Katya Adler explains how EU diplomats think they have uncovered Boris’ ultimate plan
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The BBC’s Europe editor claimed EU bosses believe the Prime Minister is accusing Brussels of threatening the UK and jeopardising peace in Northern Ireland in a bid to persuade the Conservative Party that reaching a deal in the autumn is the best option. Ms Adler tweeted: “Opinion amongst EU diplomats is broadly that IF PM is talking about EU threatening integrity of UK endangering peace in NIreland etc IN ORDER to eventually sell idea to Tory party that doing a trade deal with EU this autumn is the best way to avoid all this .. then ‘so be it’ say EU diplomats.
“General consensus here is that they’re not bothered how PM dresses up or presents a deal as long as there is one.”
Her post comes as Mr Johnson attempts to push through controversial legislation to override parts of the Brexit deal he reached with Brussels last October.
In a Twitter thread, the BBC’s Europe editor said both the UK and the EU have “played hardball” in post-Brexit trade talks.
But she warned Brussels sees the UK Internal Market Bill as breaking international law rather than “negotiating hardball”.
Ms Adler added: “EU attitude right now is to continue trade negotiations with UK to try to conclude a trade deal but if internal market bill becomes law in UK and is enacted by the government, then EU could suspend the trade deal.”
Her tweets come as the Prime Minister attempts to win backing for his UK Internal Market Bill.
A number of Conservative MPs have condemned the Brexit legislation, which could break international law by flouting the Withdrawal Agreement.
Writing for the Telegraph, Mr Johnson warned Brussels could “carve up” the UK and ”seriously endanger peace and stability” in Northern Ireland if the Bill is not passed.
And the Prime Minister insisted the chances of a Canada-style deal would be reduced if Tory rebels block the legislation.
The Prime Minister said the EU would use an “extreme interpretation” of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose “a full-scale trade border down the Irish Sea” that could stop the transport of food from Britain to Northern Ireland.
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He added: “Let’s remove this danger to the very fabric of the United Kingdom.
“Let’s make the EU take their threats off the table.
“And let’s get this Bill through, back up our negotiators, and protect our country.”
Mr Johnson on Friday held a conference call with around 250 MPs to drum up support for the Bill.
Both Ireland and the EU have warned the Prime Minister’s plans pose a serious risk to the peace process rather than protecting the Good Friday Agreement.
Speaking this morning, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove backed the Prime Minister’s message.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We’re doing our part – generously – to help protect the EU’s own single market but we’re clear that what we can’t have even as we’re doing all that is the EU disrupting and putting at threat the integrity of the United Kingdom.
“These steps are a safety net, they’re a long-stop in the event, which I don’t believe will come about but we do need to be ready for, that the EU follow through on what some have said they might do which is in effect to separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.”
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