8 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach
  • Liberal Democrats condemn Government for “destroying” UK reputation on the world stage

Latest resignation shows damaging consequences of PM’s Brexit approach

Responding to news that Sir Jonathan Jones, head of the UK Government’s legal department, has resigned following the Government’s decision to introduce legislation which would undermine key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The head of the Government’s legal department quitting over Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit should signal how serious a situation this is.

For Johnson to think it is acceptable to row back on international agreements and assurances made to Northern Ireland shows he has no respect for international law or the UK’s obligations.

How can the UK expect other countries, like China, to respect the international treaties we hold with them if we don’t do the same when it comes to the Withdrawal Agreement?

Any Government figure of any integrity would be appalled at these plans. It is therefore unsurprising that Sir Jonathan has felt the need to leave his position.

Liberal Democrats condemn Government for “destroying” UK reputation on the world stage

Responding to comments from the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis that the proposed Northern Ireland customs rules legislation will “break international law”, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

The UK Government should focus on making laws, not breaking laws. But the Northern Ireland Secretary’s admission that the Conservative Government stands ready to break international law shows just how far we have fallen under Boris Johnson.

His Government are tearing up the UK’s proud history of promoting the rule of law and in the process destroying our reputation on the world stage. It is unforgivable.

The Liberal Democrats unequivocally condemn this reckless approach.

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9 Comments

  • Seeing the govnt can break international law (oops! is that not China?!) I think when these new draconian covid restrictions come into force I think I will break them in a miniscule way!

  • Johnson–Look up—lowyinstitute.org/publications/2017- lowy-lectures-uk-foriegn secretary-boris-johnson DEFENCE OF THE RULE OF LAW. Brought to my attention via Mark Pack

  • richard underhill.,. 9th Sep '20 - 7:32am

    This has got Cummins written all over it.

  • Toby Keynes 9th Sep '20 - 10:01am

    I may be wrong, but what are the chances of this proposal actually making it through parliament?
    In the Commons, no doubt there will be a rebellion of sorts amount Tory MPs, many of whom have a strong belief in the rule of law but who have seen what can happen to the careers of colleagues who defy the whips.
    Not so in the Lords.
    What are the chances of the proposal even commanding a majority of Tory peers?

  • Just wondering if I were to plan and break into one house, and none others, would a judge accept my defence of “limited and specific law breaking”?
    Perhaps another example might be driving 100’s of miles to an opticians in Bishop Auckland.

  • Peter Martin 9th Sep '20 - 4:11pm

    This is a genuine question. What exactly is “international law”?

    If there is a dispute over the meaning of a domestic contract that can be resolved by UK law and the judgement of UK courts.

    But who would resolve any disagreement with the EU over the exact meaning of the Withdrawal Agreement? There are bound to be a few.

  • Daniel Walker 9th Sep '20 - 4:51pm

    @Peter Martin “But who would resolve any disagreement with the EU over the exact meaning of the Withdrawal Agreement?

    https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/future-relationship-dispute-resolution

  • richard underhill.,. 9th Sep '20 - 6:21pm

    Today we have been told by Matt Hancock that the government understands that communication has been poor. In particular that the police have said so.
    Therefore we have had a press conference with Boris Johnson (currently PM) Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer for England, who covered the statistical graphs) and Professor Valance (Chief Scientific Officer, who covered the availability and effects of vaccines and the need for 100% safety). There was no comment on what we most want to know, such as President Trump’s forecast of a vaccine by October, in time for the US general election, nor of the Russian vaccine (if true).
    There is no explanation of who is responsible for messaging and language. It seems that Boris Johnson is personally responsible for his use of ‘infected’ and ‘infectious’, similar but different. He leaves the broadcasters and print media with the job of explaining what he means. Although he attended an expensive school he should not assume that others have. That looks like snobbery and carries a risk of a variety of interpretations. He has been seen attending schools because of the education issue, but what did he learn himself?
    This requires a change of attitude from Boris. Who can do this to him? Maybe the Queen? Maybe the leader of the opposition?
    The CMO said that the risks are rising. The CSO was asked when will we have effective medicines? One freely available and cheap medicine, a steroid, is useful for infected patients in hospitals.
    The First Minister of Scotland has said that she tries for maximum clarity and also tries to keep politics out of what she says. She has broken her own rule today, leaning on what the First Minister of Wales (Labour) has said.
    Laura K. (BBC) sifts out what is important. Robert Peston tries to do the same for ITV and asked a question to which Boris and co. had no immediate answer. They should learn from that, particularly Boris Johnson should. When will it all be over? What about Christmas? Can we have a family gathering of more than six people as we did last December?
    Today is just another example of short-termism from this government.
    We need a responsible government, but have too much time before the next UK general election. Should the salaries of some ministers be reduced? If so, which?

  • Peter Martin 9th Sep '20 - 6:40pm

    @ Daniel Walker,

    Thank you for your supplied link which states, as I suspected, that the E.C. J. will be responsible for any dispute resolution. It further says that this was agreed by both the EU and the UK in the political declaration.

    But the political declaration also talks about a:

    “Commitment to an ‘ambitious” trading relationship’ on the basis of a free trade agreement”, with mention of deep regulatory and customs co-operation and a level playing field for fair competition.”

    But what if we don’t achieve this? Doesn’t that mean the PD is a dead duck?

    If the current round of talks are successful then all will be resolved. But if they aren’t then we won’t have any agreement on who will have the power to resolve disagreements. The EU won’t accept the UK courts and the UK won’t accept the E.C.J. So maybe the I.C.J. ?

    I would say the UK should always accept international law if the court ruling on its finer points is also genuinely international.

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