Brexit news – live: Johnson's plans 'unconscionable', says former attorney general as Sunak warned of furlough 'catastrophe'


David Cameron has joined all other formeer prime minister’s in expressing grave concerns about Boris Johnson’s plan to override the Brexit deal and break international law. 

Speaking to reporters on Monday morning, Mr Cameron said: “Passing an act of parliament and then going on to break an international treaty obligation is the very, very last thing you should contemplate. It should be an absolute final resor t, so I do have misgivings about what is being proposed.”

Mr Cameron’s remarks come after Geoffrey Cox, Boris Johnson’s former attorney general, urged ministers to use the “clear and lawful” options under the agreement to remedy concerns that food imports from Britain to Northern Ireland would be blocked.

Mr Cox, who backed Leave in the referendum campaign, said it was “unconscionable” that the UK should seek to break international law by rewriting the withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

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Johnson ‘making a mistake’, says Starmer

Labour leader Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson is “making a mistake” in seeking to break with the terms of the Brexit bill. 

Speaking to LBC on Monday ahead of a debate on the Internal Market Bill, the opposition leader said: “Here we are on the world stage for the first time in many years on our own and what’s the first thing we do? We break a treaty.

“It’s basic stuff – if you say to other nations we agree something and a few months later you say no we don’t, the chances are they aren’t going to trust you going forward.”

Asked what the prime minister would need to do in order to gain Labour support for the bill, Sir Keir said: “I do think we need legislation on an internal market and we would support that if the government took away these problems, didn’t breach international law and act in this way.”

Sir Keir also suggested that the public will not sympathise with the prime minister’s attempt to redraw the Brexit bill months after it was thought to be agreed: “They thought this was over, he’s reopening it, I think the nation would say to Boris Johnson, ‘Get on with it, you’re wrong’.

Liam James14 September 2020 09:50

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David Cameron joins all living former PMs in condemnation of Johnson’s plan to break law

Former prime minister David Cameron has criticised Boris Johnson’s plan to break international law by overriding parts of the withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

Mr Cameron joins Tony Blair, John Major, Gordon Brown and Theresa May in their criticism of the plan, which would give ministers power to override provisions of the Brexit divorce treaty.

“Passing an act of parliament and then going on to break an international treaty obligation is the very, very last thing you should contemplate. It should be an absolute final resort, so I do have misgivings about what is being proposed,” the former prime minister told reporters on Monday.

MPs will debate the Internal Market Bill on Monday afternoon. Theresa May, the only former prime minister remaining in the House of Commons, expressed concern that the government’s plan would damage the UK’s reputation among international partners.

Writing together in The Sunday Times, Tony Blair and John Major warned the plan threatens the Northern Ireland peace process and would question “the very integrity of our nation”, while Gordon Brown said it was a “huge act of self harm”.

Liam James14 September 2020 09:05

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Chancellor warned of mass unemployment ‘catastrophe’

Rishi Sunak is being  warned time is running out to prevent a “catastrophe of mass unemployment” as the government’s furlough scheme nears its end.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), will issue a plea to the chancellor on Monday to continue supporting jobs and “stand by working families”.

Speaking at the TUC’s general congress as fears of a second wave of coronavirus mount, the union chief will warn the UK faces a “tsunami of job losses” without continued state intervention.

Ms O’Grady’s remarks come as the Treasury prepares to end the job retention scheme (JRS) which has supported millions of private sector workers throughout the pandemic.

“From this Thursday, it will be just 45 days before the JRS ends. That’s the notice period that companies have to give if they intend to make mass redundancies,” Ms O’Grady will say.

“This pandemic isn’t scheduled to end in October so neither should state support for jobs.”

Liam James14 September 2020 08:38

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Geoffrey Cox strikes out at Brexit plan

Geoffrey Cox, who was Boris Johnson’s attorney general until March, has said it would be “unconscionable” to override the Brexit deal.

As the latest Tory MP to speak out against the plan, Mr Cox said there is “no doubt” the “unpalatable” implications of the Withdrawal Agreement were known when the prime minister signed it.

Writing in The Times, Mr Coxwarned that he would not back the UK Internal Market Bill unless ministers dispel the impression they plan to “permanently and unilaterally” rewrite an international agreement.

Liam James14 September 2020 08:08

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Good morning and welcome to Monday’s liveblog. We’ll be bringing you the latest updates on UK politics and Brexit as the prime minister faces mounting opposition to his Brexit plan.

Liam James14 September 2020 08:01



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