'Shocking' plan to breach international law dropped by government
Government abandons controversial parts of its internal market bill to break international law in a widely welcomed U-turn
Government has abandoned controversial plans in its internal market bill to break international law in a widely welcomed U-turn.
The Brexit withdrawal agreement is underpinned by international law.
However, as drafted, the government’s internal market bill effectively overrides parts of the withdrawal agreement relating to trade with Northern Ireland, prompting the EU to threaten legal action against the UK.
Now, with 21 days to go before the expiry of the Brexit transition period on 31 December, government has dropped the most offending parts of the bill – clauses 44, 45 and 47 – after an agreement was reached with the EU.
It also said it would not introduce any similar provisions in the taxation bill.
The development was welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales. Its president David Greene said: “The rule of law underpins our country and our democracy.”
He added that the UK is in “an era of unprecedented challenge… It is a time for building new relationships – not for letting the impression go forth that we are not as good as our word”.
“Proposing to breach an agreement just entered into, breaking international law, even if in a 'specific and limited way' was shocking so we welcome this eleventh hour change of heart”, commented Greene.
He said the reputation of the English jurisdiction “would have suffered greatly” had this step not been taken.