Brexit: Lord Spencer highlights 'financial benefits' for UK
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Liz Truss is understood to be set to unveil her first major Brexit move as Prime Minister as a crunch deadline looms. The EU earlier this year unleashed fresh legal action against the UK, accusing it of failing to comply with a hated post-Brexit deal.
It argued the UK had demonstrated it was unwilling to take part in “meaningful discussion” on the Northern Ireland Protocol for more than a year.
Some of the legal proceedings filed against the UK Government require a formal response by tomorrow and others by September 22.
This has forced Ms Truss, who has been in office for just one week, to issue her first line on the Protocol from Number 10.
A UK official told Politico Britain’s response has been finalised but that its delivery may be postponed because formal government business has been phased during the official Royal Mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II.
One from the EU added that the UK has not requested an extension but that the Commission would likely grant it one if it did, given the circumstances.
Reports suggest Ms Truss will request for existing “grace periods” to continue.
These allow for a range of post-Brexit checks under the Protocol to be temporarily ignored.
In her former capacity as Foreign Secretary, Ms Truss threatened on a number of occasions to trigger Article 16.
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This would allow the Government to take unilateral action if it believed the deal was causing “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist”.
A report in the Guardian during the time of the Tory leadership contest even suggested that Ms Truss could do this just “days after becoming PM”.
The passing of Her Majesty means this theory has not yet been properly tested.
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But reports on the likely contents of Ms Truss’s response to the EU’s legal action suggests this will be far from the case.
If Brussels is sent a request for extended “grace periods”, it could ignore the letter altogether.
The Brussels official who spoke to Politico said: “What we’ve told them informally is that the better thing [that] can happen is for us not to respond to such a letter.
“The Commission can’t simply reply saying ‘oh, very well, carry on.’”
Ms Truss has long highlighted that she would prefer a negotiated solution to the ongoing Protocol issue than the triggering of Article 16.
The EU has, in turn, threatened to launch a trade war in the event of the mechanism being employed after years of failed talks.
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