BORIS Johnson’s bill to overhaul the Northern Ireland Protocol has been published as he looks to give ministers the power to unilaterally ditch parts of the agreement.

The much-anticipated bill has been met with fierce criticism from across the political spectrum as it allows the UK Government to renege on the commitments it made to the EU in a bid to preserve the Good Friday Agreement post-Brexit.

Irish Premier Micheál Martin described Boris Johnson’s approach to the protocol as a “new low point” while European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic has said the EU views the legislation with “significant concern”.

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According to reports, the EU is ready to mount a legal challenge against the bill as early Wednesday and is even considering a trade war in response to the move.

Sefcovic said: “In particular, the protocol provides business operators in Northern Ireland with access to the EU single market for goods. The UK Government’s approach puts this access – and related opportunities – at risk.

“Our aim will always be to secure the implementation of the protocol. Our reaction to unilateral action by the UK will reflect that aim and will be proportionate.”

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has said that his scheme to change the protocol is “not a big deal”.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has also insisted that UK Government is acting within the law and that the move “is a reasonable, practical solution to the problems facing Northern Ireland”.

She added: “We can only make progress through negotiations if the EU are willing to change the protocol itself – at the moment they aren’t.”

The EU has consistently said that it will not renegotiate the protocol which Johnson wilfully signed back in 2019.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill has said that Johnson’s plan is illegal and in “clear breach of international law".

She added: “He himself signed up to an agreement, he signed on the dotted line and he's now legislating to breach that international agreement."

One of the bill’s key provisions is to reduce checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea by creating “green lanes” for goods that will stay in Northern Ireland. The proposed law also sets out a plan for a “dual regulatory regime” which would allow goods that enter Northern Ireland to adhere to either the EU or UK rules.

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The SNP's shadow Northern Ireland spokesperson Richard Thomson MP said: "The reality is that we are in this position because Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster – delivering real economic harm, hitting businesses, ripping away rights and imposing significant challenges across all parts of the UK, including Scotland.

"The UK Government has form when it comes to breaching international law. However, this latest threat to unilaterally scrap aspects of the Northern Ireland protocol – a protocol made necessary because of Brexit and which the UK government not only requested but signed up to freely – is utterly reckless and dangerous.

"Rather than reneging on its commitments the UK government should instead be working constructively to address the particular challenges facing Northern Ireland while ensuring that the Good Friday Agreement is protected.”