“We might be losing the UK, but we won’t lose our stiff upper lip.” Tensions are running high as Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK enter the final phase.

There are concerns over the UK planning legislation that may override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Speaking ahead of the eight round of negotiations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said if there is no agreement by October 15, he does not see how there will be a free trade agreement.

Speaking about the prospect of no free trade agreement being met, Johnson said:

“As a government, we are preparing at our borders and at our ports to be ready for it.

“We will have full control over our laws, our rules and our fishing waters. We will have the freedom to do trade deals with every country in the world and we will prosper mightily as a result.

“We will, of course, always be ready to talk to our EU friends even in these circumstances. We will be ready to find sensible accommodations on practical issues such as flights, lorry transport, or scientific cooperation, if the EU wants to do that.

Our door will never be closed and we will trade as friends and partners – but without a free trade agreement.

“Even at this late stage, if the EU is ready to rethink its current position and agree this, I will be delighted.

“But, we cannot and will not compromise on the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country to get it.”

President of the European Council Charles Michel has said: “We might be losing the UK, but we won’t lose our stiff upper lip.”

‘Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland essential to protect peace’

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission said she trusts the British government to “implement the Withdrawal Agreement, an obligation under international law and prerequisite for any future partnership”.

“Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island and integrity of the single market,” she added.

A joint letter from remain political leaders in Northern Ireland has been written to the British government and EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

The letter states:

“The UK’s departure from the EU gives rise to substantial political and economic challenges for our society.

As political leaders representing the majority of citizens who voted to reject Brexit, we have strongly represented the case that our peace, stability and economy cannot be jeopardised and, in particular, that any harm caused to the Good Friday Agreement, in all of its parts, would be profoundly reckless.

“The EU and UK negotiators agreed in full the terms of the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“It is entirely unacceptable to the Northern Ireland parties that the UK government would seek to abandon these safeguards and mitigations, which we believe would amount to a serious betrayal of an existing international treaty.”

‘The Withdrawal Agreement creates legal certainty where Brexit created uncertainty’

The Withdrawal Agreement, as concluded between the EU and the UK, establishes the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Withdrawal Agreement entered into force on February 1, 2020, after having been agreed in October 2019.

The agreement consists of two main documents: the Withdrawal Agreement itself, including a protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland; and a political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the UK and EU.

Very early on in the negotiations ahead of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, both the UK and the EU acknowledged the “unique situation of Ireland and Northern Ireland”.

The protocol was then decided on, which intended to: avoid a hard border and safeguard the all-island economy and the Good Friday Agreement; preserve the integrity of the EU’s single market; and maintain Northern Ireland in the UK customs territory.