‘A wise man never urinates against the wind’ Boris warned over EU backlash to Brexit row

Brexit ‘going to get messy and painful’ warns Adler

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is leading the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the European Union, has outlined planned unilateral action to introduce separate “green” and “red” lanes for goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This would draw a line between those destined to remain within the UK and those heading to the Republic of Ireland and beyond. It is believed there would be no crossover between the channels, with goods filtering through one or the other, depending on their intended destination.

But this would override current arrangements with the EU, which sees Northern Ireland effectively kept in the Single Market for goods, with a hard border down the Irish Sea.

European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic warned should the UK proceed with the Bill, Brussels will respond with “all measures at its disposal”.

Coventry University political scientist Professor Matt Qvortrup told Express.co.uk: “If Britain were to override large parts of the protocol, retaliatory measures would come into play.

“At the moment, Britain is still experiencing a shortage of a number of foods and other elements, and the EU could do things that would not make living conditions easier in the UK.

“For example, there could be a shortage of Spanish tomatoes – a food very much loved by Britons.”

Professor Qvortrup remembered a conversation he had with Mr Johnson when the Prime Minister was Mayor of London a decade ago, and said he would offer the same crucial advice once more.

He said: “My last conversation with Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London was when I spoke to him in Latin, which translated to: ‘A clever man never urinates against the wind’.

“If I were to stick with my conversation almost a decade ago with the Prime Minister, then I would say essentially the same thing – don’t urinate against the wind because it will come back and make a mess.”

The politics expert also warned tearing up the hated deal with the EU would see the UK breaking international law and play into the gleeful hands of Vladimir Putin.

Ms Truss has insisted the proposals to reform the agreement are “consistent with our obligations in international law”.

She toldTimes Radio: “We’re very clear that this proposal, this Bill, is in line with international law and we’ll be setting out a statement in due course on that.

“Of course the Government always respects the rule of law.”

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But Professor Qvortrup warned Britain would be breaking the “rule of law” if it were to breach the agreement with EU, and an opportunistic Putin would be ready to pounce.

He said: “In international law, covenants must be honoured and so you have to stick to the agreement you have made.

“If Britain was to invoke Article 16 in the way Liz Truss has spoken about, then they would be breaching an international treaty.

“Should the Government go ahead and break an international treaty, then it would have consequences.

“At the moment we are fighting a war against somebody and in international affairs, standing up for the rule of law.

“If you break an international law or agreement, that is a massive no-no.”

Professor Qvortrup, who is also an expert in law, added: “If we are to have any credibility in saying we believe in the rule of law but then we break a rule, that would be terrible and would be a godsend to Vladimir Putin.

“He has Britain firmly in his sights and breaking the rule of law would be playing into his hands.

“Putin would say ‘well you talk about the rule of law, and whenever it is convenient, you break it anyway’.

“Britain has recently been able to regain the mantle as the true serious player, but that would all be thrown away.”

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