Mr Justice Colton at Belfast High Court dismissed all grounds of two joined legal challenges
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A legal challenge to Boris Johnson’s Northern Ireland Brexit Protocol has been thrown out by the High Court in Belfast.
Mr Justice Colton dismissed all grounds of two joined legal challenges that argued the terms of Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol were unlawful.
The Protocol creates a trade border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and means EU rules governing trade in goods still apply in Northern Ireland.
The PM signed off the Protocol with Brussels as Britain left the EU, but it has been deeply unpopular with unionists, including former DUP leader Arlene Foster, Belfast Agreement architect Lord Trimble and former Labour MP Kate Hoey, who launched the judicial review.
The court ruling comes as the UK and EU try to take the heat out of the ‘sausage wars’ row over cold meats and other products crossing the border.
Mr Justice Colton refused the demand for a judicial review and the argument that the protocol breached the 200-year-old 1800 Acts of Union, saying “much constitutional water has passed under the bridge” since then.
He also dismissed claims the Protocol breached parts of the Good Friday Agreement and the 1998 Northern Ireland Act which followed.
In a lengthy judgment, however, the judge agreed with the applicants’ contention that the Brexit Withdrawal Act, in which the Protocol is enshrined, conflicted with the 1800 Acts of Union.
The Mirror reported on Tuesday that the EU is preparing to grant concessions on the Brexit ‘sausage war’ as an olive branch to ‘de-escalate’ the row over border arrangements.
Brussels is expected to offer a three month extension to the “grace period”, allowing cold meats to cross the border and across the Irish Sea on Wednesday – hours before a ban would come into force.
Brussels’ post-Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic is scheduled to address the media at 3.30pm today, while the UK is expected to issue a statement.