UK Government confirms its Brexit deal will "break international law" 2 years ago

UK Government confirms its Brexit deal will "break international law"

The UK government has said that the withdrawal agreement in its current form would break international law.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said in Parliament that the new legislation set to be unveiled on Wednesday concerning Britain's internal trade would be in violation of international obligations in a "specific and limited way".


When asked by a Tory MP to give assurances that the deal would not violate international law, the minister replied: "I would say to my honourable friend that, yes, this does break international law in a very specific and limited way. We’re taking the power to disapply the EU law concept of direct effect required by Article 4 in certain very tightly defined circumstances.

"There are clear precedents for the UK, and indeed other countries, needing to consider their international obligations as circumstances change. And I would say to honourable members here, many of whom would have been in this house when we passed the Finance Act in 2013 which contains an example of treaty override. It contains provisions that expressly disapply international tax treaties to the extent that these conflicted with the general anti-abuse rule.


"And I would say to my honourable friend we are determined to ensure we are delivering on the agreement we have in the protocol and our leading priority is to do that through the negotiations and through the joint committee work. The clauses which will be in the bill tomorrow are specifically there for should that fail to ensure that we are able to deliver on our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland."