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UK Northern Ireland minister defends legislation that breaches EU deal

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis defended legislation that breaches a divorce agreement with the European Union on Wednesday by saying negotiations had yet to find a way of ensuring free trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.

“What’s happened through the work of the joint committee negotiations is it has become clear that there is a possibility the EU may not be looking to conclude those in a way that allows us to be absolutely certain at this point in time that we can guarantee to Northern Ireland ... unfettered access,” Lewis told a parliamentary committee.

Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper, editing by Estelle Shirbon