The European Parliament’s far-right group has tried to stop MEPs from discussing the British government’s breaches of international law on Wednesday.
MEPs are due to discuss Boris Johnson’s overriding of the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol later in the week – with the prime minister expected to be blasted from across the EU political spectrum.
But the ID group, which represents parties like French National Rally, Italy’s Lega, and the German AfD appears to have come to the UK’s aid and tried to get the debate postponed.
In a request submitted this week the MEPs said the debate, which is planned to take centre stage in the parliament on Wednesday, should be postponed and relegated to an unspecified “later part session”.
They want the discussion replaced with a debate about the bloc’s aviation industry.
The parliament’s presidency is not expected to accede to the demands and the ID group does not have the numbers to force the agenda change through.
It is not the first time EU far-right parties have cooperated with the UK government in Strasbourg in recent years.
In 2018 Tory MEPs voted to protect Hungary’s right right Orban regime from EU sanctions – putting them up at odds with mainstream centre-right opinion in the parliament.
That episode provoked condemnation from Hillary Clinton, who said the Tories had “come a long way from the party of Churchill and Thatcher”.
The debate on Wednesday will feature statements from the European Commission and European Council, who are expected to strongly criticise the UK.
Brussels is pushing ahead with legal action against the UK, which appears to be disregarding parts of the treaty it signed up to.
Boris Johnson is pushing domestic legislation through parliament which will give British ministers powers to effectively override the agreement.
But the UK says the changes are necessary because the arrangements it signed up to are disrupting trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.