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Hard to believe!

September 12, 2020 1:21 PM

j2zd (Thanks to Andy Montes de Oca for sharing their work on Unsplash.)Who would believe that a Conservative Government would propose to break international law by going against the provisions of an international treaty signed only earlier this year. This coming from a Government that has imposed sanctions on China for their breaking an agreement with us on the governance of Hong Kong!

What makes it more extraordinary is that this is the same deal that was negotiated by the existing Prime Minister and sold at the last general election as an "oven ready" deal. It does however explain why the Prime Minister has continually said there will be no border in the Irish Sea even though it was clear to almost everyone that that was what he had agreed to!

Maybe we shouldn't be shocked that the Tories the traditional party of law and order should be willing to flout the law they generally claim they support when last year they shut Parliament illegally. Whatever ones view on Brexit the agreement signed last year outlined joint processes to review and potentially amend the agreements made. The Government has chosen to unilaterally make changes without discussion. That cannot be acceptable

Responding to the statement by the European Commission confirming that, if adopted as it stands, the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill would "put at risk the ongoing future relationship negotiations", Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

No one can really be surprised that the measures the UK Government have brought forward have put the likelihood of a trade deal in jeopardy.

This proposal undermines trust and the UK's standing on the world stage. The Government must now act swiftly to erase anything that violates international law or that could undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

For the sake of the future of our country the

Representatives of the US Congress have also said that any unpicking of the Good Friday agreement would mean any trade deal agreed with the US would not be approved

So what's going on?

Those who believe the Prime Minister still wants a deal will argue that the current negotiations are stalled and need a jolt. By threatening unilateral action on the Withdrawal Agreement they expect that the EU will become more flexible particularly on their demands for limits to state aid to ensure there is a level playing field inside the EU single market. Mrs Thatcher would be turning in her grave. Here we have a conservative Government risking the loss of our main market ( almost 50% of exports go to the EU) so that they can have greater scope to subsidise industry and choose business winners!

The alternative view is that Mr Johnson is looking to maintain his pro-Brexit coalition, to antagonise the EU and create lots of headlines that take the Front Page headlines away from the disastrous handling of the Covid epidemic just at the time new case numbers are growing rapidly and unemployment begins to grow as the Furlough scheme ends. You have to believe the Prime Minister when he says leaving with no deal is a good outcome for the UK

Whatever you believe the strategy is high risk. If new Global Britain starts its independent life tearing up international agreements there will be a long term damage to our reputation as a great place to do business because the rule of law is supreme. Prodding future partners with a short stick is usually not the way to getting a stable future partnership

It may be that Parliament will rebel against the proposals ( The Lords look likely to reject it but supine Tory MPs less so). It may be the tactic works had some limited deal is cobbled together at the last minute. Whatever happens Britain's international reputation has been damaged by recent events just at the time we need all the trust and friends we can get