The European Union is set to take fresh legal action over UK’s plans to give ministers the power to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president of has said the plans will “break international law”.

Speaking to a press conference in Brussels, he said: “There is no legal, nor political justification whatsoever for unilaterally changing an international agreement.”

“Let’s call a spade a spade, this is illegal,” he went on.

Sefcovic has previously said that legal action against the UK was paused last September “in a spirit of constructive cooperation”, adding that Johnson’s new plans go “directly against that spirit”.

The foreign secretary’s draft legislation plans to allow UK ministers to scrap parts of the region’s post-Brexit arrangements.

The fresh moves against the protocol come after the collapse of power-sharing arrangements in Northern Ireland.

The protocol was implemented to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the wake of Brexit by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.

It has been heavily criticised by unionist groups for allegedly undermining the union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which remains outside the EU customs union.

In May’s Northern Ireland Assembly elections, Irish nationalist party Sinn Féin became the largest party for the first time in its history, with the DUP coming runners up.

While Sinn Féin was once firmly opposed to the European Union, it is now in favour of keeping the Protocol the UK negotiated with the bloc in place.

However a functioning Executive is yet to be formed in Northern Ireland, as the DUP are refusing to nominate deputy ministers until “decisive action” is taken on the Protocol.