Justice Secretary Robert Buckland defended the UK government’s plan to break international law by re-writing the Brexit deal, but warned he could quit over the issue if it isn’t adequately resolved by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“If I see the rule of law being broken in a way I find unacceptable, then of course I will go,” Buckland said on BBC TV on Sunday, when asked if he would resign if Britain acted on its plan to unilaterally override the legally binding Brexit divorce treaty. “We are not at that stage.”
Buckland said he expects the UK will resolve its differences with the EU in discussions in the coming weeks and won’t have to act on Johnson’s plan. He described Johnson’s proposal as a “break the glass in emergency provision” and an insurance policy.
Buckland’s warning comes as Johnson tries to marshal his Conservative colleagues to support his controversial plan. In a joint opinion piece in The Sunday Times, Major and Blair said Johnson’s move is “shocking” and “imperils” the Good Friday accord that led to more than two decades of peace in Northern Ireland.
Johnson’s next challenge is to get his legislation through Parliament, where resistance looms: the opposition Labour Party will vote against the bill and seek to amend it, shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said on BBC TV on Sunday.
Blair, Major call for boycott of Brexit plan
Britain’s former prime ministers from rival parties, Tony Blair and John Major, united on Sunday to call on members of Parliament to boycott Johnson’s proposed law aimed at overriding parts of the Brexit divorce pact.
Ahead of the Internal Market Bill coming up for debate in the House of Commons on Monday, Major as a member of Johnson’s own Conservative Party and Blair from the Opposition Labour Party warned that what is being proposed by the prime minister is “shocking” and has wide-ranging ramifications on all future trade negotiations, not only with the EU but with other nations. “The overt repudiation of the treaty — by seeking to override unilaterally the provisions agreeing to the application of certain EU rules to Northern Ireland — strikes at the very heart of the withdrawal agreement,” the duo wrote in a joint article for The Sunday Times.