'A mess', 'unrealistic', 'doctrine of necessity' - three views on Northern Ireland Protocol divisions

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Boris Johnson has triggered a fresh dispute with the European Union after the government unveiled plans to override the Northern Ireland Protocol section of its Brexit deal.

The new legislation creates a framework to allow ministers at Westminster to introduce changes in four areas covering customs and agri-food safety checks, regulation, subsidy controls and the role of the European Court of Justice.

However, it has sparked a wave of criticism from across the UK and Europe.

Here three Sky News correspondents share their thoughts on the government's plans.

Political correspondent Rob Powell:

You don't have to get far into the 20-page 'Northern Ireland Protocol Bill' to see why this legislation is causing so much of a stink with so many people.

Direct your eyes to paragraph 1, section (a) and you'll read "this act provides that certain specific provision of the Northern Ireland Protocol does not have effect in the United Kingdom".

In plain English, bits of a treaty signed with the EU may be shorn away in UK legislation without the permission of Brussels.

So how can this be within the parameters of international law?

The answer to that rests on the dramatic-sounding concept of the "doctrine of necessity".

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Essentially ministers are arguing that the situation in Northern Ireland that is being brought on by the protocol is so severe that the government can renege on international commitments to find a solution.

Expect lawyers in the UK and beyond to argue against that in the coming weeks and months.

Also, expect a rebellion from Conservative MPs and attempts to block the bill from the House of Lords.

Ireland correspondent Stephen Murphy:

Boris Johnson would dearly love the DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to skip gleefully back into Stormont with a copy of the new bill in his back pocket, and the "protocol problem" sorted.

It would give the embattled prime minister a resounding win. Restorer of Stormont, protector of the peace process, he could revel in an immediate reward for his bold unilateral move on Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen - at least, not for the foreseeable future.

Majority of Northern Ireland assembly members say they reject 'reckless' protocol legislation

Sir Jeffrey made it clear to me and other media colleagues that his party would not be railroaded back into powersharing.

The DUP will pick over this bill and its provisions and set them against their "seven tests" on the protocol.

Then and only then, might the party feel suitably reassured to enter the new executive.

As for Sinn Fein, the frustration is palpable.

They can call this move illegal as often as they want, but they are Westminster outsiders and know that fundamentally, a way out of this "mess", as Michelle O'Neill described it, lies somewhere between London and Brussels.

Europe correspondent Adam Parsons:

It only took a few minutes for the European Union to react to this bill to reshape, and rewrite, the Northern Ireland Protocol, and the reaction was uncompromising.

Maros Sefcovic, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, said the protocol remained the only way to balance the needs of the Good Friday Agreement, Brexit and the EU's single market.

The idea of renegotiating it now was, he said, "unrealistic".

Behind the scenes, diplomats vary from furious to weary.

Many allege that they are being "played" - that the protocol is being used by Boris Johnson to distract his critics and mollify his core supporters.

"All this pain just to try to satisfy the DUP," one senior figure said to me.

Legal proceedings now seem inevitable. Trust has evaporated.

Relations between Westminster and Brussels, which were already appalling, have just got even worse.

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