'I know in my mind what I have to do' - Buckland

Andrew Cummings
September 14, 2020

Writing in The Times, Mr Cox, who backed the Leave campaign, warned he would not back the UK Internal Market Bill unless ministers dispel the impression they plan to "permanently and unilaterally" rewrite an global agreement.

"We have to protect the UK from that disaster, and that is why we have devised a legal safety net - in the UK Internal Market Bill - to clarify the position and to sort out the inconsistencies", wrote Johnson.

"Withdrawal Agreement to be fully implemented, ensure peace & stability in Ireland & preserve the integrity of Single Market", he added.

The QC, who was attorney general during the unlawful suspension of Parliament, said tariffs and customs procedures on certain goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain were part of the deal.

He said the United Kingdom must be protected from the EU's moves to "carve up our country" and "endanger peace and stability in Northern Ireland".

Former PMs Sir John Major and Tony Blair have united to urge MPs to reject the legislation, saying it imperils the Irish peace process, trade negotiations and the UK's integrity.

Despite Mr Johnson's attempts to drum up support, Tory rebels suggested their numbers were growing and opinions were only hardened by Mr Johnson's increased rhetoric.

Despite a majority of 80 MPs in parliament, discontent is brewing, with Johnson facing a possible revolt.

Michel said he had discussed the issue by telephone with Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin.

The UK and European Union have been locked in a tussle over more controversial elements of the Internal Market Bill, which is due to be debated in parliament for the first time on Monday.

"We both opposed Brexit".

A comment piece by Johnson published in The Telegraph on Saturday said: "If both sides want it, there is a great free trade deal there to be done". But this way of negotiating, with reason cast aside in pursuit of ideology and cavalier bombast posing as serious diplomacy, is irresponsible, wrong in principle and unsafe in practice, ' they said.

"It raises questions that go far beyond the impact on Ireland, the peace process and negotiations for a trade deal - crucial though they are", they wrote.

Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, described the legislation as wrong on Sunday.

He said there is "no mandate from the British people to break treaties".

Boris Johnson's government said explicitly last week that it plans to break worldwide law by breaching parts of the Withdrawal Agreement treaty that it signed in January, when it formally left the EU.

MPs are to debate the Internal Markets Bill this week, which includes measures to override part of the withdrawal agreement.

The Tory MP said there is "no doubt" the "unpalatable" implications of the Withdrawal Agreement were known when the prime minister signed it, a time when Mr Cox was the chief law officer.

The EU is anxious that post-Brexit Britain could undermine its own food standards, as well as rules on state aid for companies, and infiltrate its single market via Northern Ireland.

"If existing agreements that aren't even a year old are being legislated against in Westminster".

He said: "The Internal Market Bill is far from flawless and that's why we will table amendments to the Bill". The biggest commitment that can be made to the Belfast Agreement is to ensure that there are no barriers installed on these islands.

A precise determination of the status of Northern Ireland after Britain's departure from the European Union is most consequential at many levels.

"The Belfast Agreement however is about respecting consensus something which the Withdrawal Agreement ignored and drives a coach and horses through".

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