Brussels launches legal action against UK over Brexit deal breach

Brussels is suing the UK over plans to violate last year’s Brexit withdrawal agreement, which could lead to Britain being hauled before the European Court of Justice.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said that Brussels had sent a “letter of formal notice” to the UK over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “internal market bill”. The letter is the first stage of formal EU “infringement proceedings”.

The commission decided to act even though the UK bill is not yet law because it believes Mr Johnson has breached “good faith” provisions in last year’s treaty by even tabling the draft legislation. 

“This draft bill is by its very nature a breach of the obligation of good faith laid down in the withdrawal agreement, moreover, if adopted as is, it will be in full contradiction to the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland,” said Ms von der Leyen. She said that Britain had one month to send its observations before Brussels escalates the process.

Brussels moved to act after the UK government ignored an end of September deadline issued by the EU for the offending articles of the bill to be removed. With that deadline having passed at midnight, Brussels has taken the earliest possible opportunity to launch legal action, arguing that the integrity of…

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