Boris Johnson to reject ECJ role played in withdrawal deal with EU

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is planning to rip up larges swathes of his divorce deal with Brussels in pursuit of a new free-trade agreement.

The Prime Minister will reject any proposals that allow European judges to influence domestic laws in Britain. The Government does not see its EU Withdrawal Agreement as an ideal model for the future trade talks with Brussels. Under the divorce deal, the European Court of Justice remains as the “ultimate arbiter” of EU law, and has direct jurisdiction over areas such as citizens’ rights and the Northern Ireland border solution.

But Mr Johnson will consider it a personal defeat if any similar provisions appear in the future trade deal.

In its own negotiating guidelines, Brussels wants a continued role for the ECJ in policing the UK’s state aid rules, environmental standards and workers’ rights as part of the so-called “level-playing field”.

The bloc wants to prevent British companies from becoming overly competitive as the Government diverges away from EU rules.

Any future dispute settlement mechanisms will not allow the ECJ any influence in Britain, according to plans to set to published by the Government next week.

When formal negotiations begin in early March, British officials will make clear that any negotiations will be conducted in the spirit of two sovereign entities entering into a new relationship.

UK negotiator David Frost will snub arguments from European counterparts that the size of the EU’s markets hands the bloc the whip hand in the talks.

In a BBC interview last month, Irish premier Leo Varadkar argued Britain would be at a disadvantage.

He said: “I think the reality of situation is that the European Union is a union of 27 member states.

“The UK is only one country. And we have a population and a market of 450 million people. The UK, it’s about 60.

“So if these were two teams up against each other playing football, who do you think has the stronger team? So long as we’re united.”

But instead of following the bloc, Britain is lining up to negotiate a Canada-style but the Government will walk away if Brussels drags its feet.

During a speech in Brussels last night, Mr Frost said the EU must understand that the Prime Minister is willing to walk away from talks if the bloc continues to make too many demands.

He said: “We bring to the negotiations not some clever tactical positioning, but the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country.

“It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us, to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has.”

The UK negotiator suggested EU chiefs failed to grasp that their opening demands were an unacceptable threat to UK sovereignty.

And he said Mr Johnson would not compromise on his insistence that the Brexit transition period must end on December 31, whether or not a free trade deal has been agreed.

In a swipe at senior Brussels bureaucrats, Mr Frost said: “How would you feel if the UK demanded that to protect ourselves, the EU dynamically harmonise with our national laws set in Westminster and the decisions of our own regulators and courts?”

He said the UK wanted a deal similar to those with Canada, Japan and South Korea.

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