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Ursula von der Leyen’s legal challenge against the British Government has been dismantled by Michael Gove. The President of the European Commission confirmed that the EU is starting legal proceedings due to the UK’s Internal Market Bill which seeks to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Mr Gove told the House of Lords’ European Union Committee why the action was unnecessary.
He said: “The provisions in the bill are intended to be a safety net, to ensure that if there are areas that need to be addressed, that first of all the joint committee should address them.
“Then if no agreement can be reached by the joint committee, an arbitrary process of course kicks in.
“But we reserve the right, if the legislation is there, to ensure that the integrity of the United Kingdom is protected if no agreement has been reached.
“The EU made it clear that they would be launching their own proceedings.”
Mr Gove continued: “We received a letter from President von der Leyen last week in which she signalled her intent to do so.
“We entirely understand the reasons why the EU feel that this is an appropriate action for them.
“But without prejudice to that letter, we believe progress can be made through the joint committee.
“More broadly, on the question of good faith, I think while negotiations are proceeding in a way which gives us cause for steady optimism, then I wouldn’t want to pronounce definitively.”
The European Commission claimed that the internal market bill had “seriously damaged trust” between the EU and UK by seeking to break the withdrawal agreement.
Even Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted the plan would break international law, but claimed it would only be “in a very specific and limited way”.
The EU’s demands for the Government to withdraw the controversial measures from the bill by the end of the month were ignored.
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