BORIS Johnson accused Brussels of “extreme or irrational interpretations” of last year’s EU divorce deal.
It came in a blistering defence over claims he is turning the UK into a “rogue state” by attempting to alter the withdrawal agreement.
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The PM spoke out after The Sun revealed EU negotiators were threatening to use the small print to cut off British imports to Northern Ireland if current trade talks collapse.
The Government published legislation that would allow No10 in return to scrap some checks on goods, as well as ignore EU state aid law on the mainland.
Mr Johnson told MPs it provided a “legal safety net” for the internal UK market.
And he insisted “nobody wants to see a barrier down the Irish Sea” which would be “very, very injurious”.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted on Tuesday that the attempt to “clarify” parts of the agreement breaks international law in a “very specific and limited way”.
Breaking international law is not acceptable and does not create the confidence we need to build our future relationship.”
But Brussels described it as a “full frontal assault” on the deal that Mr Johnson signed less than a year ago.
And they warned the chances of a trade agreement are now “small” as relations between the two sides plummet to a four-year low.
EU boss Charles Michel fumed: “Breaking international law is not acceptable and does not create the confidence we need to build our future relationship.”
Irish leader Michael Martin spoke to Mr Johnson on the phone to lodge his “very strong concerns”.
France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune said: “Among friends and allies, we must keep our word and respect the law.”
Remainer and former Prime Minister Sir John Major added: “If we lose our reputation for honouring the promises we make, we will have lost something beyond price that may never be regained.”
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