UK Government confirms it will ditch controversial Brexit Bill clauses

The UK Government has confirmed it will ditch the controversial Internal Market Bill (IMB) clauses.

European Commissioner vice-president Maros Sefcovic waits for the arrival of Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany Michael Roth prior to a media conference at the European Council building in Brussels. Picture: AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, Pool

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove made the announcement on Tuesday after reaching an "agreement in principle" on Brexit divorce issues.

The senior Tory minister revealed he was "delighted" to have reached an agreement, which will see the most controversial parts of the IMB now be scrapped.

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The legislation had sparked a huge row with the EU, which threatened legal action if the measures were not withdrawn.

In a joint statement by the co-chairs of the EU-UK Joint Committee, European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič and Mr Gove, they announced the issue was now settled.

They said: “Following intensive and constructive work over the past weeks by the EU and the UK, the two co-chairs can now announce their agreement in principle on all issues, in particular with regard to the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“An agreement in principle has been found in the following areas, amongst others: border control posts/entry points specifically for checks on animals, plants and derived products, export declarations, the supply of medicines, the supply of chilled meats, and other food products to supermarkets, and a clarification on the application of state aid under the terms of the protocol.

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"The parties have also reached an agreement in principle with respect to the decisions the Joint Committee has to take before January 1, 2021.

"In particular, this concerns the practical arrangements regarding the EU’s presence in Northern Ireland when UK authorities implement checks and controls under the protocol, determining criteria for goods to be considered ‘not at risk’ of entering the EU when moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, the exemption of agricultural and fish subsidies from state aid rules, the finalisation of the list of chairpersons of the arbitration panel for the dispute settlement mechanism so that the arbitration panel can start operating as of next year, as well as the correction of errors and omissions in annex two of the protocol.

“In view of these mutually agreed solutions, the UK will withdraw clauses 44, 45 and 47 of the UK Internal Market Bill, and not introduce any similar provisions in the Taxation Bill.”

Separate to the ongoing trade talks, the deal will ensure the Withdrawal Agreement is fully operational from January 1.

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