The government’s legal statement

Some constituents have asked about the legal base for the legislation Parliament will consider next week. This is it:

HMG LEGAL POSITION: UKIM BILL AND NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL
This is the Government’s legal position on the UK Internal Market Bill (“the Bill”) which was introduced on 9 September. The purpose of the Bill is to promote the continued functioning of the internal market in the UK after the conclusion of the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement and the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The Bill also provides for how aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement apply in the UK’s domestic law. In particular it ensures that the government will be able to deliver its commitments to protect peace in Northern Ireland and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, and to strengthen and maintain the UK internal market.

Clauses 42 and 43 of the Bill give HMG the power to make regulations to (i) disapply or modify the application of any exit procedures that would otherwise be applicable to goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, and (ii) make regulations setting out how the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol on State aid are to be given effect for the purposes of domestic law. The clauses provide that these powers may be exercised in a way that is incompatible with provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement. Clause 45 of the Bill expressly provides that these clauses, and any regulations made under them, have effect notwithstanding any international or domestic law with which they may be incompatible or inconsistent. This ‘notwithstanding provision’ partially disapplies Article 4 of the Withdrawal Agreement because it removes the possibility of challenge before domestic courts to enforce the rights and remedies provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. The effect is to disapply the EU law concept of ‘direct effect’. This is the case regardless of whether any regulations made under clause 42 or 43 of the Bill are in fact incompatible with the Withdrawal Agreement.

It is an established principle of international law that a state is obliged to discharge its treaty obligations in good faith. This is, and will remain, the key principle in informing the UK’s approach to international relations. However, in the difficult and highly exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves, it is important to remember the fundamental principle of Parliamentary sovereignty.

Parliament is sovereign as a matter of domestic law and can pass legislation which is in breach of the UK’s Treaty obligations. Parliament would not be acting unconstitutionally in enacting such legislation. This ‘dualist’ approach is shared by other, similar legal systems such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Under this approach, treaty obligations only become binding to the extent that they are enshrined in domestic legislation. Whether to enact or repeal legislation, and the content of that legislation, is for Parliament and Parliament alone. This principle was recently approved unanimously by the Supreme Court in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC 5.

The legislation which implements the Withdrawal Agreement including the Northern Ireland Protocol is expressly subject to the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. Parliament’s ability to pass provisions that would take precedence over the Withdrawal Agreement was expressly confirmed in section 38 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, with specific reference to the EU law concept of ‘direct effect’.

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108 Comments

  1. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Was this available yesterday Sir John?

    If so then Red Ed was just grandstanding and he should be castigated for it.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      No, he was spot on.

      Even if it were, then as he said, Johnson absolutely Does Not Know His Stuff, does he?

      And he is vindicated, by the comments from the nations of the civilised world.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        nations of the civilised world – -which would they be?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        ‘Johnson does not know his stuff’ from a man who did not know that one Parliament cannot bind another! 😂😂 pre-school stuff and had to be instructed on the floor of the House (it’s in Hansard).

      • steve
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        MiC

        “Even if it were, then as he said, Johnson absolutely Does Not Know His Stuff, does he?”

        Well you evidently don’t know your stuff, if you did you’d know that internal law (and sovereignty) trumps international law.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I believe that it was published on Friday Afternoon.

    • beresford
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Milliband was parroting the same nonsense about how we ‘must’ have a deal (no matter what the nature or content of that deal). They never tell us what they propose to do if the EU say they don’t want a deal at all.

      • steve
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        “Milliband was parroting the same nonsense…”

        Yes I tried to find that on the telly, but for some reason I could only get Wallace & Grommet.

    • JayGee
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps he read the bill in full rather than the digest – https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-01/0177/20177.pdf

    • rose
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      He knew he was just grandstanding.

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Agree – grandstanding at our expense

  2. Tabulazero
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    What a disgrace…

    • beresford
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      If the EU refuse to agree a straightforward FTA with us like they offer the rest of the world, should they then be able to blockade food exports to NI from mainland Britain? Yes or No.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Think: how do you think the EU can blockade food exports to NI ?

        With Michel Barnier in a rubber dinghy in the Irish sea ?

        Be serious and be wary of so called news that can only be found in the British tabloid press and nowhere else.

        Remember the “Michel Barnier is about to get dumped by the member states” ? Did it happen. No.

        • NickC
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Tabulazero, What? – you don’t think the EU can be so vindictive as to prohibit the transport of some foods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland? Well, no wonder you voted Remain. Certainly, this time, the government has taken the EU’s threats seriously, so they obviously accept the possibility of a blockade even if you don’t.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted September 16, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

            NickC

            3 questions if I may:

            1. This information comes from Boris Johnson who, as we all know, has a complicated relationship with the truth. Could we draw any conclusion from that?

            2. How exactly would the EU go on with the implementation of its alleged threat to stop food shipment from GB to NI?

            3. Does the EU strike you as the kind of organisation that makes threat it and pretty much anybody else know it cannot make good on?

            Your answers interest me.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 16, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

            1 wrong it came from Barnier
            2 who knows they are getting close to having their own army.
            3 yes

      • steve
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        beresford

        There’s no need for a blockade of NI, if we just give in to French demands for our fish.

        Heck, if we surrender our maritime sovereignty to France we might even get an FTA.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          Brilliant – then the French can put warships in the Irish Sea to stop exports to NI.

    • NickC
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the EU’s threats against the integrity of the single market of a peaceable neighbour is a disgrace . . .

      • Tabulazero
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Sure because the British proposal of “we want to have free access to your markets while we can subsidize our domestic companies to our heart’s content and destroy yours in the process” is not ?

        • Edward2
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

          The EU member nations can subsidise their own companies too if it wants to.
          It has done regularly over the years.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted September 16, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

            State aid is allowed but within the rules set up by the EU to ensure a level playing field.

            It could happen that the EU does not want to change the rules it operates under simply to make good on the promises made to the British public by the Brexiters.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            “to ensure a level playing field”
            Or one big monolithic bloc ruled by a protectionist central command.

            No competition equals no progress

          • Tabulazero
            Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            Because the state picking winners is competition for you?

          • Edward2
            Posted September 18, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            If their decisions are failures then the government will get unpopular and we can vote them out.
            Not like the EU.

        • NickC
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          Tabulazero, Not “to our heart’s content” – subsidies can only be within WTO rules, the same that the EU can apply. A trade deal is about mutual market access – no more, and no less. And it’s China that the EU should be frightened of, not the UK, anyway. Moreover, Germany will still be subsidising its exports via mercantilism. Apart from all that, you’re 100% right.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted September 16, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Do you know that WTO arbitration can take between 10 – 15 years ?

            By the time the case gets resolved, companies have the time to go bust many times.

            WTO arbitration ? No thank you very much and this actually assumes that there will still be a WTO given what Donald Trump is doing to it.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            Sanctions can be imposed by the country feeling aggrieved.
            Currencies alter greater than the average tariff inside a year.
            Have you noticed the huge expansion of international trade over the last few decades?
            It’s obvious you have never done any importing nor exporting.

  3. formula57
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Good for the Government. The people expect it to “get Brexit done” and the sovereign parliament must do what is necessary.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Oh, so it’s the “sovereign Parliament” and not “saboteurs and traitors” now, is it?

      What a giraffe!

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it is a sovereign parliament. Gin Miller saw to that when she went to the Supreme Court. THanks Gina.

        • steve
          Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          FuS

          Yes, an own goal. Much to the irritation of MiC. 🙂

          • Edward2
            Posted September 16, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            Mic isn’t so very keen on Parliamentary sovereignty these days.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        there have been, and still are numerous saboteurs and traitors.

      • 'None of the above'.
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        I was under the impression that a significant number of the “saboteurs and Traitors” lost their seats at the last General Election.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          a large section of the electorate who are sheep convince themselves they are wolves!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        All Parliaments are Sovereign or they are not a Parliament, but an assembly.
        There is not 1 Parliament in the entire EU!
        And some argue that it’s ‘democratic’!

      • steve
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        MiC

        “Oh, so it’s the “sovereign Parliament” and not “saboteurs and traitors” now, is it?”

        Dont rush to conclusions, the bill has only passed the first stage and remainers could still cause trouble. You will have to wait and see.

    • Nigl
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      + many thousands

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      The people expected WTO

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        +1 4 years ago!

  4. Nigl
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    If it is that clear why are there people not agreeing?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Because many are closit remainers. If Bliar and Major are against it then it’s probably the correct course of action.

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • NickC
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Nig1, Because they are Remains, and therefore determined to make as much trouble as they can in the hope of halting Leave. What have they got to lose? They lost their honesty and integrity years ago in their quest for EU dominance.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Be Ayse a Government minister stood up in parliament and said they were breaking international law. Why ? That statement was approved by someone at No 10. Who ?

  5. Len Peel
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    So an explicit admission the UK plans to breach an international Treaty it signed up to just a few months ago. Shameful. The Kremlin will be overjoyed the UK is doing its work for it by indermining the rule of law

    • Martyn G
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      It was not a treaty. Repeat NOT a treaty, just an agreement which, as our host has explained, cannot overrule the will of Parliament. Fact.

      • James
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        No not just an agreement a very important agreement passed in the HoC and in the EU Parliament. Between Uk and the Eu- the Eu representing 27 countries- I would say that it is a very important international treaty by any name

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          Transitory agreement which has been breached by the EU. It HAD to lead to a FTA.

    • Sharon
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      There was a lawyer on the radio explaining that if the bill is required to protect us then it is not illegal. It’s a safeguard,

    • Edward2
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      What is the name of the Treaty the EU and UK signed?
      It should have a name like The xxxxxxx Treaty

    • Nicky Roberts
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Apart from the fact that the EU breaks International law at will and is currently being fined for doing so, their threats to prevent the British food market reaching Northern Island breaks just about every rule in the book.

      But you can only bang on about Boris breaking a law. You must be happy to see the EU yet again threaten to hold Great Britain hostage.

  6. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Time for another load of MPs to lose the whip and be de-selected.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      yep……but they will ‘cross the road to the Lords’.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      +1 – and NOT sent to the House of Lords, which is the PM thumbing his nose at the electorate.

    • Lennon
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      A bunch of MPs lost the whip last year by refusing to agree to Boris’s deal.
      Another bunch are about to lose the whip by refusing to break Boris’s deal.
      Ever had the feeling Cummings is laughing at you behind your back?

      • Edward2
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        If you vote against a three line whip and against your own government then you always expect a reaction from your party and constituency party.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          If you vote against Manifesto Commitments you must expect excommunication. And that goes for Govt too. See Mrs 9% May.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Boris’s deal was a case of ‘any deal to get this bloody thing over’ after the appalling delay and obfuscation since the referendum. Now the details are being ironed out. Seems fair enough to me. Bit like agreeing to build HS2 and then dotting the ‘i’s etc. afterwards. It’s the EU’s fault. They would not negotiate the future arrangements until they forced us to accept their Withdrawal Agreement IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE LISBON TREATY.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      We don’t have Commissioners anymore.

  7. Kristo
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Could also be called the Governments illegal statement by the way so many others see it.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Or the ‘others‘ could be called traitors by the way we see it?

      • James
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        One man’s traitor is another man’s patriot

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          Patriotic to the EU? Is that a ‘thing’?

  8. Ian @Barkham
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Sir John

    As always I agree.

    It is embarrassing for the ego trip MP’s that have forgotten why they were elected. Then embarrassing that they have chosen to forget they were only the custodians of the sovereignty lent to them by their Constituents. They have no other real purpose while in Parliament than ensure our constitution and sovereignty is respected.

    To think they can barter off something that isn’t theirs, is first order hypocrisy. A total lack of duty to the people of this country, you could even reason they holding onto their positions fraudulently.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      A fair assessment

  9. ChrisS
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    The doom and gloom merchants are making much more of this than they should be.

    It is clear that there is some doubt on both sides but what seems certain is that there may be parts of the new legislation that would break the treaty between the EU and the UK BUT, ONLY if there is no formal agreement on 31st December AND the EU fails to recognised the UK as a third party country AND we choose to implement it.

    In any event, the principle of Nothing Is Agreed Until Everything Is Agreed must continue to apply to the Withdrawal Agreement as it is only a part of the Brexit process.

    What is all the fuss about ? More Project Fear ?

    • steve
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      ChrisS

      “What is all the fuss about ? More Project Fear ?”

      Yes, and also the fact that Boris’s Gov’t has sussed out the French – Led EU plot to make NI isolated from the UK and dependent on RoI for food, if we don’t let the French plunder our fishing grounds….the cause of the current stalemate.

      In other words; ‘give us the fish or you loose NI’.

  10. Halfway
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Boris is concerned that the EU might not negotiate in good faith sometime ‘in the future’ so he considers he needs to bring in this bill as a backstop- this supposes that they the EU have already being acting in good faith up until now. And given that we have already left the EU on the WA January 31st and are in a transitional phase to another agreement surely then if transition talks fail and break down through no fault of anyone except by disagreement- then nobody is at fault- nobody is acting in bad faith if the talks just stop- it’s just the way it is- ie. we have left the EU- full stop- which is all as we ever voted for as per the WA- UK has taken back control- we then go to trading by WTO Rules- am afraid I don’t know what the Boris Dominic problem is

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      An agreement, preferably an FTA, would have replaced the NI Protocol. No agreement means that the NI Protocol is enforced.

      • Hh
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes that is true and that is what was agreed between the parties in the WA – the agenda for the future transitional talks were also clear but aspirational and a FTA would depend on the success of a new agreement. Everyone knows that including Boris so I don’t knod what all the huh hah is?

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Let see if they have the bottle to walk on the 15th October

      • Fred H
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        don’t hold your breath.

  11. matthu
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    The government clearly did not appreciate the full impact of the withdrawal agreement t the time that it was agreed.

    So perhaps it is reassuring that they attached an explanatory note to the “Rule of Six” (over 9 pages of garbage and legalese) that this time they did not even pretend to have conducted an impact assessment.

    Presumably they can’t begin to guess how this new regulation will impact your life, the extent to which it will protect (or destroy) your health or the number of people who will be criminalized as a result.

  12. ian
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I notice that most of MPs and Lords who are going on about breaking international laws have broken international themselves over the years by voting through bills in parliament, not leased the middle east wars where a person ended up dying before being able to put the finding of his trip to the middle east before parliament to make sure there would be no war.

    I have often wonder to myself why people would vote for people who have blatantly broken the law in this manner in parliament, one can only conclude that voters are of the same mentality and therefore not worth saving.

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this.

    If the government had released this legal statement at the same time as everyone became aware of this new Bill nearly a week ago, then perhaps the Government would have saved itself a lot of embarrassment, media flack, and may indeed have helped the bill pass through Parliament with far fewer opposition opportunities.

    The Conservative Party really do need to up their game with PR JR, it has been a shambles now for far too long.

    • steve
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Alan

      Agreed, except that all TV media and most of the press in this country is actively engaged in left wing remain propaganda and slagging the Tories. They don’t report anything that might suggest this government is doing a pretty good job under the circumstances. Their game is purely Tory bashing.

      Might I suggest – ‘Jeff Taylor’, ‘Mahyar Tousi’, ‘We Got A Problem’…..all available on youtube.

      There is also a good read on Conservative Woman website.

      And last but certainly not least this website.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      👍🏻 Alan is right, PR is letting your party down.

    • Original Chris
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, AJ. Breweries and organisational skills come into mind.

    • Sharon
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Alan

      “ If the government had released this legal statement at the same time as everyone became aware of this new Bill nearly a week ago, then perhaps the Government would have saved itself a lot of embarrassment, media flack, and may indeed have helped the bill pass through Parliament with far fewer opposition opportunities.”

      It’s funny you should say that because in the Telegraph today there was an article. It explained that the ERG were considering a press conference because there are more bills needed to further safeguard us from other areas of the withdrawal agreement. One of the top comments was just that….make sure the public are aware of those further safeguards and get them out there telling the public several times over to ensure it’s heard.

      The ERG worry being the remainders will say Boris happily signed it as it was…that too needs an explanation. He practically had a gun to his back ‘sign or lose Brexit.’

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes, let’s have Khan with the balance of power, that would improve things. We would all be in masks for ever!

  14. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Self explanatory and Boris is quite within his rights to act for the good of the UK. I just hope those Tory rebel MP’S that vote this down are sacked. We have had enough and want Brexit done. A real and meaningful Brexit.

  15. glen cullen
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    UK daily summary Tuesday 15th September
    (source: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk)

    Tested – 227,075
    Negative – 223,970
    Positive – 3,105 (1.3%)

    Patients admitted to hospital – 141
    Deaths – 27 (0.00003%)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 16, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      What is the false positive rate for the tests? It might well be much of that 1.3%, furthermore the tests do it seems pick up people who have recovered are not really infectious but just have a tiny residual infection residue.

      Serious cases and deaths are all we should really be concerned about now. These are not significatant at all now. Less than 1% of daily deaths.

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        When I point this webpage out to my friends they can’t believe the figures are so low – its not whats in the media

  16. steve
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    FuS

    It shows that the Anti – British & corrupt element of Parliament is still there. Electors need to make sure these weasels are voted out of office.

    I certainly wouldn’t be voting for an MP who submits to foreign threats.

  17. Ian @Barkham
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    The media is stating that the EU is drawing up plans to end food blockade threat – Now, the Commission has told No 10 it must publish draft legislation containing guarantees to uphold high standards for animal health, welfare, plant health and plant protection before they complete the process.

    They(the EU) still dont get it the integrity and sovereignty of the UK is part of our constitution, it is not up to others(foreign powers) to grant us permissions on anything that goes on within the UK. Then when you add in these conditions that is insulting and demeaning. Next they will want the ECJ to be the arbiter.

    The whole charade is to enforce rule by the EU on the UK. Where is the ‘Clean Break’ we voted for?

  18. Original Chris
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    One world government, the key goal of the globalists, is being pushed forward relentlessly. Noteworthy: Boris is apparently a signed up member of the globalists. It does help to explain his actions. Question: what hold do they have over him, and why?

    • Wrinkle
      Posted September 16, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      The US will not allow one world govt. unless it is the World Government.

      Might happen…..

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      He is of many nations and therefore of none.

  19. Edwardm
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Surely this is an insurance policy by HMG that provides an interpretation that would be put into effect should the EU try to impose an adverse interpretation of the WA.
    It was not very clever of Brandon Lewis to state it breaks International Law, when it is a response the EU’s badly motivated threats to use the WA to cut off NI from the UK, by its own extreme interpretation of the WA. And follows the EU’s unreasonable demands in trade negotiations.
    It is appalling that certain Remain MPs can be so high-minded in defence of EU’s position on the WA, yet showed no high-mindedness in respect of the will of the British people this last four years.
    No WA and no trade deal are the cleanest solutions.
    A period on WTO terms may do the EU attitude some good, but don’t wager on it.

  20. JimW
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    But the PM has made the case that its needed to stop the EU interferring with foodstuff going from GB to NI. There is only one clause in the Bill that can possibly be applicable , and that is Clause 2.

  21. David Rennick
    Posted September 16, 2020 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    It says something of the nature of this government that the NI Minister declares something to be illegal and the Attorney General declares it to be legal.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 16, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Best to take the legally qualified person’s advice.

      • graham1946
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Lawyers advice is always 50 per cent wrong where court cases are concerned. Having said that, Brandon Lewis is not the sharpest knife in the box and will never be a threat to the PM which is how they are appointed and why we get so many duffers.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 16, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          I agree Graham.

      • David Rennick
        Posted September 16, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        True.

  22. Mark B
    Posted September 16, 2020 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    I fear you may be correct.

    +1

  23. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 16, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    How could any rational person or MP argue with that?

    …unless of course they do not have the best interests of the people of the UK in mind.

  24. villaking
    Posted September 16, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I feel you miss the point. It is all very well to smugly say that domestic law is paramount and can be used to overturn international treaty obligations, but does that mean that overturning international treaty obligations (particularly those in recently signed treaties) is a morally correct practice? If the argument is that if an international treaty goes against the best interests of the country, perhaps you should call out whichever incompetent fool signed it? And by logical extension, how would you feel about Spain passing a law to overturn the Treaty of Utrecht and re-occupying Gibraltar? It would tick all the same boxes: the Spanish parliament is sovereign, domestic law is paramount and the treaty goes against the best interests of Spain. Spain’s justification is far stronger as the treaty was signed over 300 years ago not 9 months ago by their incumbent PM

  25. XYXY
    Posted September 16, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    “International law” is largely a set of customs and norms which are as fluid as any other body of law. The law on treaties is largely governed by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) and the International Law Commission (ILC) which produces interpretations on the state of such customs over time.

    A key aspect of treaties is that the ILC classify them by *type* and the customs and norms that apply to each type are different. A commerce/trade treaty is handled very differently to a treaty covering things such as borders, rights etc.

    The VCLT defines a number of situations where treaties can be terminated or “denounced” and the ILC members have produced a number of papers over the years defining the customs and approach to various types of treaty.

    Various articles of the VCLT such as article 56 do allow for unilateral exit from types of treaty, including commercial ones such as the WA. Essentially when a country feels that therms of a trade agreement no longer work in its interests, they can withdraw fro the arrangement and they do so all the time. Partial withdrawal is no different – if the other parties don’t like it, they also have the power to cancel the arrangement.

    Internet searches on the subject will come across items such as this: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/62563955.pdf which is first proof but pulls it together quite well, albeit a (very) long read. As an academic paper, however, its advantages include the fact that everything is properly referenced.

    So when people, including senior law officers such as Keen, are saying that this “does break international law”, I have to wonder what game they are playing. It is quite clearly incorrect for a number of reasons including the above and the inclusion of Clause 38 in the WA Act 2020.

  26. BOF
    Posted September 16, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    The disturbing news this morning was that Boris was having discussions with the Tory rebels.

    Should this result in appeasement of any kind his conversation with the electorate may not be so amicable.

  27. Tim S
    Posted September 25, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Most of the comments here seem to miss the point: the government’s legal opinion posted here states that the passing of this law does break the Withdrawal Agreement, even if the powers are never used. It then continues:

    “It is an established principle of international law that a state is obliged to discharge its treaty obligations in good faith.”

    If this law is passed, the UK will be manifestly failing to do so, and hence will be in breach of international law. Further, I have seen no argument as to why the UK needs to act in breach of good faith at this time, nor why the government seems not to care about reneging on its manifesto commitment to the Withdrawal Agreement.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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