Rishi Sunak has been warned that advancing the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill could backfire on the UK’s already battered economy. Its chancellor Jeremy Hunt is trying to get the country’s economy back on track after Liz Truss’ disastrous mini-budget and restore confidence in foreign markets with a wave of spending cuts and tax hikes. If the Prime Minister decides to go ahead with the Brexit bill, the European Union could deal a fatal blow to Rishi Sunak’s hopes of reviving the economy, an Open political analyst has warned. University.
Asked how Rishi Sunak’s European policy will differ from that of his predecessor, Dr Simon Usherwood told Express.co.uk: “There’s a lot more continuity that I see at the moment. [between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss].
“But Rishi Sunak is, I think, much more aware of the impact on markets, on policy-making.
“So we’ve seen that with the market reaction to the Liz Truss mini-budget and that spills over to the EU question, if the UK continues to want to remove all or part of the Ireland protocol from North, then this will receive a response from the EU, which will include some form of retaliation.
“Probably some form of trade sanctions.”
Rishi Sunak’s Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is strongly backing a series of austerity measures to revive the economy and restore confidence in foreign markets as the country heads into recession. But he could lose the confidence of overseas markets if he passes the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.
Dr Usherwood said: “And that’s going to be a problem and it’s going to provide plenty of reasons for the markets to say, ‘This doesn’t look like a responsible decision by government that has a lot of other things to do.’
“I think there is a difference that Sunak is more aware of the impact of market movements and the possibility of the EU issue spilling over in that way.
“I think we could see a continuation of Liz Truss’s warm words, but whether that results in a shift in policy, I think the jury is still out on that one.”
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Asked how the EU could sanction the UK, Dr Usherwood said: “The EU has clearly spent a lot of time preparing for this should this become an eventuality. And it is. since the internal market bill a few years ago that was something they needed to think about.
“What the EU has said publicly is that the decision to have the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill would be viewed as a hostile move by the UK and would be responded to.
“What they’ve also done is they haven’t said exactly what that answer would be because they don’t want to end up in a situation where UK politicians are figuring out what the blow and decide they’re ready because it’s going to make the situation worse.
“So there’s a degree of uncertainty as to what precisely that would entail.”
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Pressed to detail what retaliatory measures the EU could take, Dr Usherwood said the EU could trigger the dispute settlement mechanism under the Withdrawal Agreement.
This decision would involve the imposition of tariffs, increased duties on British goods, stricter controls, which have not yet fully come into force.
Dr Usherwood said: “So the EU would potentially be a bit more bureaucratic in the way it does things and stick to the letter of the deal, which would lead to a considerable hardening of border frictions, be it the Irish border but also more significantly for the United Kingdom across the Channel towards France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
“If you think about the queues and the disruptions that there have been at various times over the summer, we could well see much greater delays just by having more systematic passport checking, verification of documents, everything that is done by the book.
“It’s all a possibility, but I think until the UK goes that route you won’t really know what it is.”
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