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The warning comes from Tory peer Lord Howard who told ITV Good Morning Britain the passing of the Internal Market Bill to allow the Government to breach its Brexit agreement with Brussels could affect Britain’s international reputation with rogue states when and if they will attempt to break international laws in the future.
He said: “I’m concerned about the reputation and the honour of our country.
“When we sign a treaty we’ve got to adhere to that treaty. This treaty was signed less than a year ago. The Government has given its word.
“If we want to reproach other countries, Russia, China, Iran, when their standards fall below the standards we would like to see adopted, then we have to be in a position of model authority to do that.”
It comes as former British Prime Minister David Cameron joined other ex-leaders of the country to express concern at Boris Johnson’s plan to break international law by overriding parts of the Brexit divorce treaty with the European Union.
“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,” Mr Cameron, from Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party, told reporters on Monday.
“So I do have misgivings about what is being proposed.”
Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major said on Sunday that Britain must drop its “shocking” plan.
Mr Johnson’s former Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, has also warned it would be “unconscionable” to override the Brexit divorce deal, as the Tory rebellion against the controversial legislation grew.
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The Tory MP said there is “no doubt” the “unpalatable” implications of the Withdrawal Agreement were known when the Prime Minister signed it, a time when Mr Cox was the chief law officer.
The Brexiteer warned he would not back the UK Internal Market Bill unless ministers dispel the impression they plan to “permanently and unilaterally” rewrite an international agreement.
The QC, who was attorney general during the unlawful suspension of Parliament, said tariffs and customs procedures on certain goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain were part of the deal.
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“There can be no doubt that these were the known, unpalatable but inescapable, implications of the agreement,” he wrote in The Times.
He said if the powers in the Bill were used to “nullify those perfectly plain and foreseeable consequences” then it would amount to the “unilateral abrogation of the treaty obligations” signed in October.
“It is unconscionable that this country, justly famous for its regard for the rule of law around the world, should act in such a way,” he said.
Mr Cox urged ministers to use the “clear and lawful” options under the agreement to remedy their concerns that food imports may be blocked from Britain to Northern Ireland.
Or, “in extremis”, he said, they could take “temporary and proportionate measures” during an independent arbitration process.
“What ministers should not do, however provoked or frustrated they may feel about an impasse in negotiations, is to take or use powers permanently and unilaterally to rewrite portions of an international agreement into which this country freely entered just a few months ago,” he said.
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