Law-breaking Brexit plan is 'responsible government' act, says Justice Secretary
The justice secretary has insisted that introducing legislation to rip up the PM’s Brexit deal and potentially breaking international law are the actions of a ‘responsible government’.
Robert Buckland backed Boris Johnson’s controversial Brexit Bill, adding that it is in accordance with ‘the most honourable traditions of the British state’.
Senior Tory ministers have admitted that the prime minister’s plans to introduce legislation that would override parts of the EU divorce deal risk breaking international law. Brussels has given Johnson a deadline of until the end of September to retract his plans or face legal action over what it considers a breach of an international treaty.
He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘This isn’t something we do lightly, this isn’t something that we actually want to use, this is something that a responsible Government does in order to prepare for the worst.
‘But can I reiterate our steely determination to get a deal.’
Buckland insisted that he will resign if the rule of law is ‘broken in a way that I find unacceptable’ but added that the government is ‘100% committed’ to the negotiations and ‘the rule of law’.
But he insisted that the proposed legislation was a ‘break the glass in emergency provision if we need it’.
He told The Andrew Marr Show: ‘If I see the rule of law being broken in a way I find unacceptable then of course I will go.
‘I don’t believe we’re going to get to that stage. I know in my mind what I have to do.
‘But the government collectively here also has a responsibility, we’ve got to resolve any conflict, that’s what we will do.’
The shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland insisted Johnson is risking the country’s economic recovery from coronavirus by ‘jeopardising’ a trade agreement with the EU with his new plan.
She added that ‘it is the very last thing the country needs at this critical moment’ as the UK faces a second coronavirus wave in the winter months.
Louise Haigh told Sky’s Ridge On Sunday: ‘What his actions now are doing is undermining the protocol and unnecessarily moving the conversation back to the border on the island of Ireland.
‘That is seriously risky and undermines all of the progress that has been made since the Good Friday Agreement.’
The comments come as it was revealed that the prime minister is considering opting out of key parts of the Human Rights Act, which could make it easier for asylum seekers to be deported.
Whitehall has conducted a review of human rights laws and is set to announce the findings in the coming weeks.
The move is set to increase tensions with Brussels, which wants the UK to commit to the European Convention on Human Rights as part of a Brexit deal.
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