As presser concludes EU Commission VP Maros Sefcovic states that if the UK's Northern Ireland Protocol Bill becomes law the EU 'can't exclude anything' in terms of response. This could be seen as an implicit threat to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the FTA agreed between the two sides following the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (which includes the NI protocol) was finalised.
- In terms of when the NI Protocol bill could become law, it is likely to be a long and drawn-out process. Moderate Conservative MPs concerned about a trade war with the EU are likely to seek some amendments to the Bill in the House of Commons (which will be opposed by all other parties, with the potential exception of the Democratic Unionist Party). However, with a sizeable majority, PM Boris Johnson should be able to rely on the Commons' support for the bill.
- The major hold up could come in the House of Lords, where the Conservatives do not hold a majority, and where there is seen as a sizeable majority opposed to the bill. The Lords can offer amendments to the bill, which is then sent back to the Commons.
- This process of consideration of amendments can continue back and forth for some time, and therefore is known as 'ping-pong'. Both Houses must agree on the wording of the bill before it is given Royal Assent and becomes law.
- On the NI Protocol bill there has been talk of the bill taking up to a year to get onto the statute books, time in which negotiations between the UK and EU can take place in an effort to reach a compromise on the protocol and avoid a trade war.