MEPs in the European Parliament have slammed Boris Johnson’s “Fawlty Towers approach to politics” and urged him to stop violating international law.
Parties from across the EU political spectrum gathered in Strasbourg on Wednesday to slam the UK’s plan to tear up parts of the Brexit deal.
As the prime minister faced a mutiny from his own government at home MEPs after MEP stood up to slam the prime minister’s approach.
Speaking for the bloc’s largest centre-right political group, Irish MEP Seán Kelly said: “Breaching international law is not acceptable and defies logic, because the protocol is working”
“I appeal to Boris Johnson and the British government to give over this Fawlty Towers-like approach to politics.
“Because if they don’t, there is a danger that Basil will be confused with Boris.
“Regardless of the outcome of the volatile situation in No 10 there is only one solution: put this bill aside, come and negotiate and we can reach an agreement. That is what democrats always do.”
Natalie Loiseau, a close ally of Emmanuel Macron spoke for the parliament’s liberal Renew group, simply said: “The name if the problem is Brexit and the type of Brexit which was chosen by the current British government.”
And senior Green MEP Terry Reintke warned: “What the UK Government is doing right now looks unfortunately more like a group of reckless, privileged people trying to distract from their own mistakes by breaking international law rather than serious governing.”
She added that she understood the difference between the UK governemnt and the British people and that there were “millions of people in the UK who want to have a close and strong relationship with the European Union… We will continue to put all our efforts into making that possible.”
From the parliament’s centre-left, Thijs Reuten, speaking for the party’s socialists group said: “I thought the Prime Minister ‘got Brexit done’, but instead it looks like he himself may be done.
“His domestic misdeeds are one thing, but is he really willing to break international law, to jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement, and to axe the trust between the UK and its most important trading partner – and all that at a time of huge economic turmoil?”
The government’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill effectively give UK ministers powers to change parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol without consulting the EU – which the UK negotiated the agreement with.
The protocol was introduced to keep the border open between Northern Ireland and the Republic, in line with the Good Friday Agreement – but to do so it introduces new checks on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
While the protocol has broad public support in Northern Ireland, it has angered some unionists who want it scrapped or significantly changed.
Boris Johnson has characterised the changes as minor, but sat the Wednesday session of the European Parliament, European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said the approach had “no political or legal justification whatsoever”.
He said that it was “legally and politically inconceivable that the UK decides” how the EU’s trade border was enforced.