British govt to prioritise further talks on Northern Ireland Protocol
The British government is not expected to announce any moves to unilaterally scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol.
There had been reports in the British media that the Queen’s speech, which sets out the legislative programme for the year ahead, would announce a law to override the Northern Ireland Protocol.
That would be regarded as a breach of international law, but the latest indications are that the government will prioritise continued negotiations with Brussels instead.
However, there is concern in Britain about reports that the government will announce an overhaul of the Human Rights Act which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
It is reported that legislative change will allow British courts to override past decisions by the European Court of Human Rights.
Amnesty International has warned that tampering with the Human Rights Act would be a breach of the Good Friday Agreement which incorporates its safeguards.
Today’s speech is also expected to mention the Legacy Bill which had sought to end prosecutions of both former paramilitaries and soldiers for killings committed during the Troubles.
The bill was announced in last year’s Queen’s speech but has been repeatedly delayed after complaints from victims’ groups.
The speech is expected to contain a so-called Brexit Freedom Bill which will make it easier to change or remove EU law.
There will also be changes to legislation based on European law to allow different rules on data protection, procurement and financial services.
Queen Elizabeth will not be in attendance today for the first time since 1963 because of what was described as episodic mobility problems.
Prince Charles will read the speech instead and will be accompanied to parliament by Prince William.