Dominic Raab has been accused of engaging in diplomatic “sabre-rattling” after rejecting legislative alignment with Brussels and dismissing claims by Michel Barnier that the Brexit agreement makes customs checks in the Irish Sea “indispensable” .
The UK foreign secretary said following EU rules after 2021 “just ain’t happening” and insisted it was wrong for the EU’s senior negotiator to claim that goods entering Northern Ireland and Great Britain would be subject to extra paperwork once Britain leaves the post-Brexit transition period.
The UK is embarking on an 11-month transition period during which Boris Johnson and his government will try to secure a future trading and security relationship with the EU. If there is no deal by 31 December, the UK will face a “cliff-edge” no-deal Brexit.
Asked on Sky News on Sunday if Michel Barnier was wrong to say there would be border checks on goods moving between the EU and the UK, Raab said this was up to the EU.
“Yes, he is wrong if the EU lives up to its commitments on its side both in the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration,” he said. “We expect those assurances and agreements to be kept to. That’s why we’ve done this deal – it is a package.”
Barnier made the claim in a speech at Queen’s University in Belfast earlier this week when the EU negotiator said the withdrawal agreement was clear on checks. “The text is very precise. I always tell the truth,” he said.
Later, Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that following EU rules after 2021 “just ain’t happening”.
“We are entering into these negotiations with a spirit of goodwill. But we are just not doing that other stuff. The legislative alignment, it just ain’t happening,” he said.