Northern Ireland High Court rejects challenge to Brexit Protocol

FILE PHOTO: Flags of the Union Jack and European Union are seen ahead of the meeting of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in Brussels, Belgium December 9, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BELFAST (Reuters) -Northern Ireland's High Court on Wednesday rejected a challenge by the region's largest pro-British parties to part of Britain's divorce deal with the European Union, saying the Northern Ireland Protocol was consistent with British and EU law.

The court said Britain's EU withdrawal agreement, which effectively left Northern Ireland in the bloc's trading orbit, was legitimate as it was passed by the British Parliament and overrode parts of earlier acts, such as the 1800 Act of Union.

Judge Adrian Colton rejected a number of arguments based on both British and European Union law, saying none justified the judicial review of the protocol requested by the parties.

He dismissed both the main case brought by the leaders of the Democratic Unionist Party, the Ulster Unionist Party and the Traditional Unionist Voice, and a parallel case brought by Pastor Clifford Peeples.

The parties plan to appeal the decision, Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister told Reuters after the decision.

Another party named in the case, former Brexit Party member of the European Parliament Ben Habib, said the judge had made a "politically charged decision".

(Reporting by Amanda Ferguson and Conor Humphries; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alex Richardson)

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