Theresa May attacks ‘reckless’ Boris Johnson as she threatens to lead Brexit rebellion

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The Government’s latest Brexit legislation could jeapordise the unity of the United Kingdom, Theresa May has warned. The former Prime Minister spoke out strongly against Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill, which seeks to override parts of the UK’s Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU. Mrs May branded the move “reckless” and claimed it was all only to make the UK “appear tough” to the EU.

She told the House: “I believe that the Government’s willingness unilaterally to abandon an international agreement it has signed will lead to some questioning about the willingness of the Government to fully uphold the measures in the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

“That in turn will lead to some communities having less willingness to trust the United Kingdom Government.

“That could have a consequence on the willingness of people in Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom.

“It is far from acting to enforce the integrity of the United Kingdom.”

Mrs May continued: “In pursuit of trying to appear to be tough to the European Union, I think the Government is putting the integrity of the United Kingdom at risk.

“These reasons alone I think should be sufficient for the Government to abandon these clauses.

“But perhaps the most compelling reason is my third, and it is this Government’s wish to break international law, and taking powers to do so.

“As the Law Society and the Bar Council have said, these provisions enable UK minister to derogate from the obligations of the United Kingdom under international law in broad and comprehensive terms, and prohibit public bodies from compliance with such obligations.”

The former PM added: “They represent a direct challenge to the rule of law, which include the country’s obligations under public international law.

“I cannot emphasise enough how concerned I am that a Conservative Government is willing to go back on its word, to break an international agreement signed in good faith and to break international law.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted the plan would break international law, but claimed it would only be “in a very specific and limited way”.

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