Politics

Key Tory Geoffrey Cox to vote no to Boris Johnson's law-breaking Brexit bill


The UK’s former Attorney General plans to vote against the Prime Minister’s law-breaking Brexit bill.

Geoffrey Cox is reportedly planning to vote to block Boris Johnson’s Bill, which ministers have admitted breaches international law.

Mr Cox is set to reveal to Times Radio tonight he plans to vote against the Internal Markets Bill.

He has reportedly told the broadcaster he would vote in protest at the Government’s plan to break international law, labelling its approach “unconscionable”.

Under the PM’s original Withdrawal Agreement, some goods travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK will need EU customs forms and tariffs, because of a risk they may enter the EU down the track.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire

But Mr Johnson now wants to change the agreement, with his new Bill proposing giving UK ministers the power to override the decisions on forms and tarriffs.

The original agreement ensures the decisions made together by a UK-EU joint committee.

The Agreement was signed with the EU last year to ensure Brexit could legally take place on January 31.

Mr Johnson’s Bill has created a massive row in the Tory party, and sparked international condemnation amid criticism the move would paint the UK as unable to keep its word.

Mr Cox reportedly insists the UK must uphold the Withdrawal Agreement, that he signed off on in October 2019, but has backed No10’s view that the EU is acting in bad faith.

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He is calling for the PM to instead trigger the Dispute Resolution mechanism in the Withdrawal Agreement instead.

Mr Cox is said to warn Downing Street against riding roughshod over the original document – and writing in the Times tomorrow: “No British minister should solemnly undertake to observe treaty obligations with his fingers crossed behind his back”.

Last night, former Tory PM Sir John Major united with former Labour PM Tony Blair to condemn the Bill.

The pair warned Mr Johnson he is risking undermining Ireland’s peace process and stoking instability.

Rebel Tory backbenchers planned to table an amendment tomorrow which would give Parliament a veto on the changes proposed by Mr Johnson.

Labour said it would refuse to back Mr Johnson’s Bill as it is currently being presented.

But leader Keir Starmer committed to support it if the PM addresses MPs’ concerns.

Mr Johnson had claimed the EU was plotting a ‘sea blockage’ – effectively creating a border in the Irish Sea to impose tariffs on goods between Belfast and Britain.

The original agreement was designed to ensure there would not be a requirement for border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic pf Ireland, to safeguard the peace process.





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