European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said Brussels has begun infringement procedures over the UK’s internal market bill, which was backed by the Commons last week.
Von der Leyen called the bill a “breach of the obligation of good faith” and if in force would be “in full contradiction” of the Brexit deal agreed last year.
It comes after it was revealed the UK bill rips up parts of the withdrawal agreement Johnson signed with Brussels and which was backed by parliament in December.
Specifically, it reneges on the Northern Ireland protocol, which says that the region would follow some EU rules with the aim of avoiding a hard border with the EU.
She said: “We had invited our British friends to remove the problematic parts of their draft internal market bill by the end of September.
“This draft bill is, by its very nature, a breach of the obligation of good faith laid down in the withdrawal agreement.
“Moreover, if adopted as is it will be in full contradiction of the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
“The deadline lapsed yesterday, the problematic provisions have not been removed.
“Therefore this morning the commission have decided to send a letter of formal notice to the UK government. This is the first step in an infringement procedure.”
🇪🇺🇬🇧 @vonderleyen: “We stand by our commitments”.— Daniel Ferrie (@DanielFerrie) October 1, 2020
We have launched legal proceedings against #UK for breaching the Withdrawal Agreement - an agreement aimed at protecting peace & stability on the island of Ireland.
Read more (in all EU languages): https://t.co/SbQI6SoM9Q pic.twitter.com/i8NO1ViXMm
The commission president went on to say the UK now has one month to respond with “its observations” to the EU.
Von der Leyen said: “The commission will continue to work hard towards a full and timely implementation of the withdrawal agreement.
“We stand by our commitments.”
The EU had called for the UK to withdraw elements of the legislation, which cleared the Commons last week and would breach international law, by the end of September.
The government said it would “respond to the letter in due course”.
A spokesperson said: “We have clearly set out our reasons for introducing the measures related to the Northern Ireland protocol.
“We need to create a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market, ensure ministers can always deliver on their obligations to Northern Ireland and protect the gains from the peace process.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.