Attorney General slams BBC for painting the EU as 'the good guys'

Attorney General Suella Braverman slams BBC for painting the EU as ‘the good guys’ and the UK government as ‘malevolent’

  • Attorney General Suella Braverman clashed with BBC presenter in interview
  • Ms Braverman told Sarah Montague to stop painting the EU as the ‘good guys’ 
  • European Commission has announced legal action over Northern Ireland row

Suella Braverman today slammed the BBC for painting the EU as the ‘good guys’ and the UK government as ‘malevolent’.

The Attorney General complained about the corporation’s ‘view’ of Brexit wrangling as she was interviewed about the saga of the Northern Ireland protocol. 

On Radio 4’s World at One, presenter Sarah Montague asked why ministers ‘keep doing things that others judge to be illegal’ and whether she was ‘comfortable’ with the government’s ‘law-breaking’ reputation. 

Ms Braverman replied: ‘With respect, I think that’s a BBC view, if you don’t mind me saying, that the UK Government is somehow always malevolent and the EU is always acting as the honest broker and the good guys.’

‘It was the Supreme Court that ruled on prorogation,’ Montague interjected.

Ms Braverman insisted her ‘preferred alternative’ to the Northern Ireland protocol was negotiation.

‘Listen my preferred alternative right now is negotiation and my invitation to our EU friends is to come back to the table and to engage substantively with our proposals,’ she said. 

‘They’ve failed to do that for over two years now and that’s why we’ve regrettably been left with no option but to take these measures.’

Attorney General Suella Braverman complained about the corporation’s ‘view’ of Brexit wrangling as she was interviewed about the saga of the Northern Ireland protocol

Boris Johnson and EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen together last year

On Radio 4’s World at One, presenter Sarah Montague asked why ministers ‘keep doing things that others judge to be illegal’

Ministers have been increasingly ready to call out what they perceive as bias in BBC interviews.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss lashed out at Today presented Mishal Hussain yesterday for suggesting the Northern Ireland protocol Bill would prevent the UK criticising authoritarian regimes like Russia. 

The full question posed to Ms Braverman was: ‘This Government keeps doing things that others judge to be illegal – we can go back to prorogation, Partygate, the Northern Ireland protocol, deporting asylum seekers – I wonder how comfortable you feel with the reputation that this Government has being built up as with regard to law-breaking?’

The clash came as Brussels threatened a trade war, launching a legal battle over Boris Johnson’s plans to abandon parts of the Brexit agreement to ease political pressure in Ulster. 

The European Commission announced fresh legal action this morning as part of a series of measures in response to the Government’s move to unilaterally scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The European Commission is also resuming legal proceedings against the UK that were shelved last year to facilitate negotiations on post-Brexit trade. 

The Government has been given two months to respond before the case goes to the European Court of Justice. 

Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic warned Mr Johnson today that the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, tabled on Monday, had ‘no legal or political justification whatsoever’, adding: ‘Let’s call a spade a spade: this is illegal.’

The European Commission vice-president said: ‘It has created deep uncertainty and casts a shadow over our overall co-operation, all at a time when respect for international agreements has never been more important.

‘That is why the Commission has today decided to take legal action against the UK for not complying with significant parts of the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.’

The plan would mean ‘breaking an agreement that protects peace and stability in Northern Ireland, an agreement reached together only three years ago’ by Boris Johnson’s Government and the EU.

The bill aims to sweep away key parts of the Protocol – including a check-free ‘green channel’ for goods from mainland Britain and stripping control from the EU court.

It would also ensure that VAT changes from Westminster apply to the province, permit state subsidies, and give ministers wide-ranging powers to cancel more of the divorce terms later if required. 

The PM’s spokesman said ministers were ‘disappointed’ by the EU decision, adding: ‘The EU’s proposed approach, which doesn’t differ from what they have said previously, would increase burdens on business and citizens and take us backwards from where we are currently.

‘The infractions are related to the implementation of the protocol in our recently published Bill. It is difficult to see how scrapping grace periods and adding additional controls and checks would be the situation better.’

Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said it was ‘clear that the UK broke the law’ and said it new law was ‘unjustified’

Belgian Green MEP Philippe Lamberts told BBC Radio4’s Today programme: ‘Everyone knows this is not about solving problems. It’s about political posturing and deviating attention from other problems in the United Kingdom and therefore our patience has been tested to the extreme by Boris Johnson.’

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