Hot air?! Ben Habib slaps down Boris over Northern Ireland ultimatum sabre rattling

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Boris Johnson has been slammed for “sabre-rattling” over the Northern Ireland Protocol by the former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib. London and Brussels have exchanged heated words in recent months over the terms of the Brexit treaty which dictates trade rules between the EU and GB. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned the EU to show “flexibility” over the trading arrangements or the UK will have “no choice but to act” alone. Despite the tough talk, Mr Habib has spoken out at what he calls “hot air” from the UK Government 

Mr Habib told political Youtuber Michael Heaver: “There’s no formal declarations from Government, all of this is hearsay.

“Until we get a formal declaration from someone very senior like Liz Truss or the Prime Minister, I put no stall by this.

“You and I’ve seen this many times, Michael, when the Government gets into a corner on any particular issue, you can name any one of many issues, it rattles t’s rhetorical sabre.

“Then we often see that actually, the action that follows is a mere shadow if even that of the sabre that they rattled.”

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“This government is brilliant at playing the news cycle, it understands that the news cycle passes over time and it uses this rhetorical sabre simply to get through that problematic period,” he added. 

“That is what they’re doing here, there is no way that the United Kingdom right now would take any unilateral action within 72 hours.

“We’re not ready for it, we’re not ready for the repercussions of taking unilateral action, nor do I believe that the Government had the will to take any unilateral action.”

Mr Habib later shared a link to the interview on Twitter with the caption: “Liz Truss Gives EU DEADLINE: fluff and hot air?”

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It comes as the Prime Minister said the Northern Ireland Protocol has become a “real problem” and must be “fixed” to ensure the country can agree on a new power-sharing administration.

The UK and the European Union have come to fresh blows over the Brexit treaty after reports emerged that the Foreign Secretary is drawing up emergency legislation to suspend elements of the protocol.

Boris Johnson, who negotiated the protocol when taking Britain out of the EU, would not be drawn on whether the wording of the divorce pact needed to be changed when questioned on Thursday.

Sinn Fein, which supports the protocol, made history during last week’s Stormont elections when it became the largest party in the Assembly for the first time.


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But the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has ruled out entering into a new powersharing administration without significant changes to the protocol which governs post-Brexit trading arrangements.

The impasse has led to concerns in Westminster that the protocol could spark sectarian violence in a region still scarred by the Troubles.

Speaking in Stoke-on-Trent, Mr Johnson said: “The people of Northern Ireland need leadership, they need a regional, a provincial government… they haven’t got that.

“That’s a real, real problem and the reason they don’t have that is because there’s one community in Northern Ireland that won’t accept the way the protocol works at present – we’ve got to fix that.”

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