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UK responds to EU legal action over Northern Ireland Protocol – but does not budge | Politics News

The UK has told the EU it will continue with its pause on border checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, despite the bloc’s legal action against the government, according to reports.

The European Commission launched its infringement procedures back in June and July, accusing the UK of failing to comply with the Northern Ireland Protocol – agreed by both sides during Brexit negotiations to avoid the introduction of a hard border on the island of Ireland, instead creating a border in the Irish Sea.

The Commission said the UK was not abiding by customs and excise requirements and not imposing EU rules on VAT for e-commerce, as well as failing to collect relevant export declaration data on goods moving from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.

And it said failing to do so was increasing the risk of smuggling via Northern Ireland.

But, despite initially signing up to the protocol, the UK argues it is causing unnecessary barriers for business and risks the peace and stability of the Good Friday agreement.

The government had until today to respond to the legal action, and ministers are now understood to have told Brussels that they will continue with the grace periods on checks they currently have in place – meaning it is not forcing retailers and exporters to adhere to all the checks agreed in the protocol.

New Prime Minister Liz Truss has also vowed to push on with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill in the Commons, which is aimed at ripping up parts of the agreement – including removing checks on goods and animal products going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – despite the anger it has prompted from the EU.

Both sides have said they want to get around the negotiating table to iron out the issues around the protocol.

But while the UK wants to scrap some of it, the EU insists it is the best solution to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and both have accused the other of failing to engage constructively in talks.

Neither side would give more detail on the exchanges over the legal action nor publish the documents.

But Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie told reporters in Brussels: “I can confirm we have received a reply from the UK. We will now analyse the reply before deciding on the next steps.”

‘I can’t bear this bloody thing’: King loses patience with leaky pen as he signs visitors’ book in Northern Ireland | UK News

A pen faced the wrath of the King this afternoon as it began leaking when he signed a visitors’ book in Northern Ireland.

The monarch became frustrated and swore as the pen malfunctioned – and it appears it was not its first offence.

The King was at Hillsborough Castle to commemorate his mother, the Queen.

Queen’s coffin arrives at Buckingham Palace – royal news latest updates

As he signed the book he had to ask an aide what the date was, having originally inscribed the wrong one.

After finishing his note, the King passed the pen to Camilla, the Queen Consort.

At this point he lost his temper with the offending instrument.

“Oh god, I hate this,” he said.

His wife replied: “Oh look, it’s going everywhere” as the King wiped ink from his hand.

An aide went to intervene and take the pen from the Queen Consort.

“I can’t bear this bloody thing… every stinking time,” the King said as he walked away.

Read more:
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The King had also needed assistance while signing a document earlier in the succession process.

During the Accession Council at St James’s Palace on Saturday, His Majesty flapped his hand repeatedly at an ink well on the table and waited for an aide to take it away.

One former aide told Reuters that, while the King could be fun, he was also short-tempered and demanding.

Two people believed dead in light aircraft crash in Northern Ireland | UK News

Two people are believed to have died after a light aircraft crashed at an airport in Northern Ireland.

Emergency services rushed to Newtownards Airport in County Down on Tuesday evening following a 999 call.

Details about what happened are scarce but it is understood that two people lost their lives in the incident.

The scene has been closed off by police.

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said: “NIAS despatched two emergency crews, a doctor and an ambulance officer to the incident.

“No patients were taken from the scene.”