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Minister admits new Brexit law breaks ‘international law’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The government's proposed new bill will impact the three-way trading relationship between the UK, EU and the Republic of Ireland

Following growing controversy about the government’s proposed new Brexit law a government minister has been forced to concede that the new bill will “break international law”.

The new bill – set to be unveiled tomorrow – is expected to impact the implementation of the Brexit withdrawal agreement Britain signed with the EU in 2019.

The proposed new law – reportedly called the UK Internal Market Bill – will impact already-agreed trading arrangements between Northern Ireland and Britain, particularly goods which the government considers are “at risk” of entering the European Union (EU).

The government is effectively trying to alter the underpinnings of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, an element of the withdrawal agreement designed to prevent the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Today at the House of Commons, Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis, conceded that the proposed new law could violate the Brexit treaty between the UK and the EU in a “specific and limited way”.

Lewis  - who was answering a question posed by the chair of the House of Commons’ Justice Committee, Bob Neill – attempted to justify the violation by claiming there is “clear precedence for UK and indeed other countries needing to consider their obligations if circumstances change”.

But leading figures across the political spectrum have condemned the government’s attempt to subvert the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Former Tory Prime Minister, Theresa May, warned the government that the new law could damage “trust” in the UK over future trade deals with other states.  

Meanwhile, the opposition Labor Party’s shadow attorney general, Lord Charlie Falconer, proclaimed that the government has “an obligation to comply with the law, domestic and international”.

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