Boris panics: PM bottles it over EU threats and pleads Cabinet to de-escalate Brexit row

PM: Plan to amend Northern Ireland Protocol is ‘not a big deal’

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At a meeting of his top team yesterday, the Prime Minister is said to have told ministers to “de-escalate” the war of words with the continent. The wording was used repeatedly during the meeting in order to reiterate the point, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Brussels has reacted with fury over Mr Johnson’s plans to introduce new legislation to overrule aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It has vowed to retaliate hard against any changes made to the international treaty by Britain, including by introducing new tariffs and quotas.

There are concerns the action will spiral into a full-blown trade war between the two partners in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

Families are already seeing costs surge due to rampant inflation and skyrocketing energy bills.

Tariffs from the EU would only worsen the pain being felt in the pockets of hard-working Britons up and down the country.

Earlier this week, Thomas Byrne, Ireland’s minister for European affairs, vowed to “punish” the UK for taking action on the Protocol, adding there “undoubtedly will be consequences”.

“If you run through a traffic light, you’ll be punished, if you commit some other breach of the law, you’ll be punished,” he told LBC radio.

“There will be consequences for Britain but we don’t want to get into that space.

“We want this to be worked out between the two sides for the betterment of Northern Ireland.”

Seeking to cool tensions amid the action on the Protocol, Mr Johnson on Monday insisted the plans unveiled by the UK were “not a big deal”.

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He insisted the legislation would introduce “relatively simple” bureaucratic changes.

He added it would be a “gross, gross overreaction” if Brussels sought to retaliate by triggering a trade war.

Echoing the comments, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Times Radio last night: “Our solution doesn’t make the EU any worse off.

“We continue to protect the single market, we’re supplying the EU with data, we’ve got strong enforcement to make sure companies aren’t violating the rules.

“So there is absolutely no reason why the EU should react in a negative way to what we’re doing.”

The UK has argued that the measures to remove checks on goods and animal and plant products travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are necessary to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement and peace and stability.

The legislation would see a new “green lane” introduced for goods intending to stay in the province, with minimal customs checks imposed on the shipments.

Any goods set to travel through Northern Ireland to the Republic in the south would be subject to full “red list” checks.

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