The European parliament has refused to set a date to ratify the Brexit deal for a second time, amid concerns the UK is not implementing it properly.
Party group leaders had been expected to announce the deal would be ratified at a sitting in late April, but following a meeting said they would wait for reassurances from Boris Johnson’s government.
MEPs on committees through which the deal is set to pass will vote individually on the agreement on Thursday but the main plenary meeting, which is required for full ratification, will wait.
Christophe Hansen, a Luxembourgish centre-right MEP who leads on Brexit for the parliament’s trade committee, said that the decision would be “deferred due to the need for progress on roadmap for pragmatic yet full implementation” of the deal.
He added: “Cool heads must prevail.”
This is the second time the EU parliament deferred ratifying the agreement after a deferral in March.
That came after the UK moved to unilaterally extend grace periods on post-Brexit controls at Northern Ireland’s ports for at least six months.
The British government fears that implementing the agreement it negotiated in full at the stipulated time will cause shortages and further economic problems in Northern Ireland.
The trade deal has been in provisional operation since January 1, but it must be fully ratified this month. European parliament President David Sassoli has named April 26 as the last practical date for a vote in the legislatures plenary and said there will be no extension.