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Brexit news – live: Boris Johnson says NI protocol must be ‘corrected’ as trade with EU slumps

Boris Johnson denies snubbing Sein Fein’s call for a meeting on Belfast trip

The prime minister said he did not think arrangements he agreed with the EU would involve restrictions on the movements of food products such as sausages, on parcel deliveries and on soil from Great Britain entering Northern Ireland.

Asked about legal challenges against the protocol on a visit to the region, Mr Johnson said he would like to work with the European Union to “iron out” any issues before deferring to the courts for a decision.

Meanwhile, official statistics revealed goods sales to the EU fell 40.7 per cent in January, with experts blaming Brexit for a large chunk of the lost exports.

Also, the majority of Britons were found to believe Brexit has been bad for the economy and trade, in new polling for The Independent.

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Boris Johnson facing major Conservative rebellion in Commons over ‘genocide amendment’ row | Exclusive

At least 30 Tory MPs could rebel in a vote on the Trade Bill unless ministers accept the so-called genocide amendment that aims to prevent trade deals with countries deemed to be committing atrocities, The Independent has been told.

The latest threatened rebellion follows a third crushing defeat for the government in the House of Lords over the issue that has been given renewed focus amid international outcry over allegations of human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority in China’s Xinjiang province.

Political Correspondent Ashley Cowburn has the details:

Liam James13 March 2021 10:42
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Boris Johnson ‘evading responsibilities’ with Sinn Fein snub, says leader McDonald

Sinn Fein’s leader Mary Lou McDonald has criticised Boris Johnson for refusing to meet to discuss legacy issues and the fallout from Brexit.

Ms McDonald said Mr Johnson was trying to “evade his responsibilities” over investigating legacy killings in Northern Ireland:

We have very serious issues in respect of legacy, dealing with the past.

Serious commitments entered into by the British government not more than a year ago, in respect of those matters and we expect them to be delivered.

We also want to discuss with him the matter of the protocol, the manner in which he has behaved in respect of that.

I certainly think that the British government, and the British prime minister is trying to evade his responsibilities.

Liam James13 March 2021 10:13
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Voters worried that Brexit has been bad for economy, as official figures show massive slump in trade

The majority of Britons believe Brexit has been bad for the economy and trade, according to newpolling for The Independent.

The findings offer the first indication that the damage caused by leaving the EU’s single market and customs union in January is cutting through with voters.

Official statistics showed on Friday a precipitous 40.7 per cent fall in goods sales to the EU in January, with experts blaming Brexit for a large chunk of the lost exports.

Liam James13 March 2021 09:49
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Boris Johnson says NI protocol needs to be ‘corrected’

Boris Johnson has said the Northern Ireland protocol is not operating as he had expected.

The prime minister said he did not think arrangements he agreed with the EU would involve restrictions on the movements of food products such as sausages, on parcel deliveries and on soil from Great Britain entering Northern Ireland.

In a virtual press conference on a visit to the region, Mr Johnson said: “It needs to be corrected, you can’t have a situation in which soil or parcels or tractors with mud on their tyres or whatever are prevented from moving easily from one part of the UK to another – it’s all one United Kingdom.”

Asked about several legal challenges against the protocol, he said: “Before we get to other people’s legal actions against the protocol, what we want to see is to work with our friends in Dublin, in Brussels, to make sure that we iron this thing out, because at the moment it feels to me like it’s not operating in the way that it’s intended to do,” he said.

“It’s there to protect the EU single market but also the UK single market and the Good Friday Agreement, and all we’re looking for is some balance and some common sense.

“There are more immediate ways of addressing the issues with the protocol and more practical and commonsensical ways than doing it through the courts.”

Prime minister met with DUP’s Arlene Foster in County Fermanagh
Prime minister met with DUP’s Arlene Foster in County Fermanagh
Liam James13 March 2021 09:29
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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of politics today.

Liam James13 March 2021 09:23