Brexit LIVE: Michel Barnier mocks Brexiteer with spiky letter DRIPPING with sarcasm

Mr Francois, chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), sought to lay down the law in a “Missive from a Free Country” sent to Mr Barnier on June 26, in which he demanded Brussels “change some of the unreasonable demands that the EU is currently making”. Specifically, he stressed there was no way the European Court of Justice could have any role in “the UK’s national life” after the end of the year. Mr Barnier has now replied in a letter taking issue with a number of Mr Francois’ points.

He pointed out the political declaration ratified by Parliament does allocate a role to the ECJ as part of arrangements for Northern Ireland – the so-called Northern Ireland protocol.

The political declaration, he added, had been “agreed by your Prime Minister and voted for by the House of Commons, including yourself, as part of the Withdrawal Agreement ratification”.

Mr Barnier also took the time to acknowledge the existence of the ERG, a likely response to a passage in Mr Francois’s letter in which he said: “It is possible that you may have heard of us”.

He said: “I have over the past years met British politicians representing the entire spectrum of views on Brexit, including the European Research Group, which you chair.”

He also took a subtle swipe at Mr Francois’s reference to living in a free country while lamenting the UK’s decision to quit the bloc, writing: “In this same spirit, we approach the ongoing negotiations with your great – and indeed free – country, which will remain a close friend, neighbour and ally of the European Union.”

8.13am update: Barnier’s reply to Francois: ‘You voted for it Mark’

Michel Barnier has hit back at Mark Francois – by pointing out the eurosceptic Tory MEP voted for the political declaration which the eurosceptic Tory MP objected to in his letter to the EU’s chief negotiator last month.

Mr Francois, chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), sought to lay down the law in a “Missive from a Free Country” sent to Mr Barnier on June 26, in which he demanded Brussels “change some of the unreasonable demands that the EU is currently making”. Specifically, he stressed there was no way the European Court of Justice could have any role in “the UK’s national life” after the end of the year. Mr Barnier has now replied in a letter taking issue with a number of Mr Francois’ points.

He pointed out the political declaration ratified by Parliament does allocate a role to the ECJ as part of arrangements for Northern Ireland – the so-called Northern Ireland protocol.

The political declaration, he added, had been “agreed by your Prime Minister and voted for by the House of Commons, including yourself, as part of the Withdrawal Agreement ratification”.

8.11am update: Ireland’s fishermen fear ‘unmitigated disaster’ as trade talks stall

Michel Barnier and David Frost – top negotiators for the EU and UK – have been having intense trade talks over the last month, and reportedly dined on fish together at No.10 this week.

The talks have become deadlocked over a so-called ‘level-playing field’, the governance of any agreement and access to the UK fisheries.

While any potential issues with Ireland appear to have been put on the backburner after Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed a new customs border down the Irish Sea, Irish fishermen are keen for an essential problem to be resolved before the UK leaves the EU in December.

8.05 update: Sturgeon threatens to reject Boris Johnson’s new law in EU clash

Westminster and Holyrood are on track for the biggest constitutional showdown since the EU referendum as Nicola Sturgeon’s government have threatened to block a major post-Brexit law.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party are prepared to stand in the way of a law which would give the UK Government the power to set food and environmental standards following the nation’s exit from the bloc.

Michael Russell, SNP cabinet secretary for constitutional affairs, told the Financial Times the SNP would take Westminster to court if it was given the power to force Scotland to accept new standards on food, environmental and animal welfare.

Mr Russell said: “We do not accept that this is a legitimate way of operating within devolution.



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