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Boris Johnson confirms UK will set out NI protocol plans this week

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Boris Johnson has confirmed the government will this week set out plans expected to allow ministers to unilaterally scrap part of his Brexit deal.

The prime minister said more details would be released “in the coming days”, despite warnings they could trigger a trade war with the European Union, in an editorial in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper.

Ministers are engaged in a stand off with the European Union over the Northern Ireland protocol.

Mr Johnson’s government signed up to the agreement, which is designed to protect the EU’s single market.

But ministers warn the deal threatens the Northern Ireland peace process by putting a border down the Irish Sea and introducing checks on goods coming from other parts of the UK.

The government is expected to publish legislation on Tuesday that would allow ministers to unilaterally ditch part of the protocol.

The move has prompted a furious row with the EU, with senior figures warning no compromise can be found while the UK threatens to breach international law.

In his article, Mr Johnson, who travels to Belfast on Monday, suggested that the protocol had delivered unintended consequences and has not been “adapted to reflect” realities.

He said there was “without question a sensible landing spot in which everyone’s interests are protected”.

But he warned: “I hope the EU’s position changes. If it does not, there will be a necessity to act.

“The government has a responsibility to provide assurance that the consumers, citizens and businesses of Northern Ireland are protected in the long-term.

“We will set out a more detailed assessment and next steps to Parliament in the coming days.”

Earlier this month Sinn Fein made history by becoming the first nationalist party to win the right to nominate a first minister of Northern Ireland.

The unionist DUP has refused to re-enter powersharing government with the party until the protocol is reformed.

Unionists oppose the protocol, which they warn has created an artificial border separating them from the rest of the UK.

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